Los Angeles News

Project Spin takes on bullying at schools

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

School bullying can have deadly consequences. A local project is taking on bullying to protect children and help them see a brighter future.

Elliot Sitz, a junior at Downtown Magnets High School, says he is happy now, but he thought about suicide a lot just a few years ago when he was bullied by students and teachers for being gay.

"You feel like you're all alone, and that no one cares for you and you're just pessimistic and then you just feel like you don't want to do anything anymore, and you feel like you shouldn't even be on the planet anymore," Sitz said.

Project Spin is trying to change that, training teachers, students and families and spreading public awareness about bullying and teen suicide. It's a partnership between LAUSD and other various organizations to make sure they're doing everything they can to prevent kids from killing themselves.

"We can't do this alone. We need everybody who believes our school system should be safe to help in this effort," said Lorri Jean, CEO of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center.

Some high-profile cases have brought the issue to the forefront in recent years, like Rutgers student Tyler Clementi, who killed himself after his roommate used a webcam to capture him kissing another man, or Amanda Todd, the 15-year-old who apparently took her own life after she said she was bullied for years online and at school.

Now, these organizations are coming together to change that culture.

"We want school to be a place where you see the reflection of what you is possible, where you, too, grow and think and learn and believe and help contribute to our planet," said LAUSD Board President Monica Garcia.

As someone who has been in their shoes, Sitz says he wants to send the message to those experiencing painful bullying that there is a brighter day ahead.

"All this stuff that you're going through now is going to make (you) a stronger person," Sitz said. "The world they live in now is going to be way different when they're happy ... and when they are accepted by the ones they love."

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