By Jordan Puckett
A Milford fifth grader, 10-year-old Alexis Walter, went before city council May 21 to raise awareness about bullying.
“Bullying has been a problem in my school,” Walter said before the meeting began. “I was being bullied and I stood up for myself. That’s when I realized it was a problem.”
Walter wanted something done about the problem and asked that the City of Milford draft a resolution against bullying. She prepared a speech and read a poem to the council.
“I would like to talk to you about a trend in our country that affects school age children everywhere,” Walter said to start her speech. “I want to ask you as a council and as a city to become an upstander against this trend of bullying.”
Throughout her presentation, Walter encouraged her audience to be upstanders, rather than bystanders, and stand up against bullies.
“Bullies rely on bystanders to elevate their power,” Walter said.
She also spoke about the way new technology has enabled bullies to reach out to their targets.
“The use of texting and the internet makes it easier for the bully to attack and get their message out,” Walter said. “It’s not the same bullying of 10, 15, or 20 years ago. It is much more common and, to many experts, much more cruel.”
Walter listed a few statistics of bullying. She said 3.2 million students will be bullied this year, 10 percent of students are bullied on a daily basis, over 100,000 students skip school every day to avoid being bullied, and 75 percent of school shootings are directly related to bullying.
“She did all the research herself,” said Laurie Howland, Milford vice-mayor and Walter’s mother. “She told me she wanted to do this and I said she needed to do the work. It’s her issue.”
Walter has spoke about a Facebook page she started, called End the Trend, in order to raise awareness about bullying. She hopes to get one million “likes” on the social media site. The page is updated regularly with bullying statistics, news, and inspirational quotes and songs.
After Walter finished her speech, Milford Law Director Michael Minniear read a resolution, entitled The Alexis Walter Anti-Bullying Resolution. Council voted to adopt the resolution.
Milford is the first city in Ohio to pass such a resolution.