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Maryland School Students Take Anti-Bullying Pledge

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GAMBRILLS, Md. (WJZ)– It’s a problem many students deal with everyday– bullying. Now, a new nationwide campaign designed to wipe out bullying is unveiled in Maryland schools.

As Gigi Barnett explains, it happens now because October is National Bullying Prevention Month.

In the halls at school, students know the bullies.

“They think they’re cool. But, they’re not,” said one.

Students say the taunting happens in classes, too.

“There was a time in band class when they were kicking over this student’s stand and untying his shoes,” said Caroline Plitt, a student at Arundel High School. “It was really hurtful and really wrong.”

And there’s always fear of retaliation.

Plitt explained: “If Aaron is being picked on and I tattle on him and say the bullies are doing this…”

“…Then the bullies that are picking on me can pick on her, as well,” Aaron, another student at Arundel High, said.

The new Facebook page forces students– especially those who watch it– to take a pledge to stop it. It’s part of a national anti-bullying campaign backed by Gov. Martin O’Malley and First Lady Katie O’Malley. They were one of the state’s first to say the pledge at Arundel High School.

“I don’t accept the notion that bullying will always happen in schools,” Gov. O’Malley said. “I think that this generation of young people actually understand that it’s not cool, and by connecting with one another, I think they can create a culture where bullying is definitely uncool.”

The campaign also targets cyberbullying– more students against it means more students who will speak up.

“We know that when the bystanders — kids and young adults — step in, bullying incidences drop in half, and the single incidence of bullying drops and takes no more than 10 seconds,” Stuart Snyder, president of Cartoon Network, said.

All of the states are in a competition to get as many students to join the anti-bullying campaign on Facebook. Maryland is far ahead of the pack. It is the seventh state to pass an anti-bullying law in schools.

The governor and first lady are also encouraging families statewide to take the Facebook Anti-Bullying Pledge on Oct. 17.

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