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Bucyrus City Schools to Kick Off "Speak Truth to Power" Program

The following originally appeared on the Bucyrus City Schools' website.

The Bucyrus City School District (BCSD) will kick off the Speak Truth to Power (STTP) program, "a multi-faceted global initiative that uses the experiences of courageous defenders from around the world to educate students and others about human rights, and urge them to take action," with a special assembly featuring human rights defender Jamie Nabozny.

Nabozny is the newest "defender" to be included in the STTP human rights curriculum. Nabozny, with the help of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, won a landmark federal lawsuit against school administrators in his home state of Wisconsin who failed to stop anti-gay bullying in his school. He now speaks in schools across the country about the destructive nature of school bullying. His story is the subject of a new documentary, Bullied, produced by The Southern Poverty Law Center.

Nabozny will make his debut speech to Bucyrus Secondary School (BSS) students on Dec. 13. He will also address fourth and fifth-grade students at the Bucyrus Elementary School (BES) on Dec. 15.

His three-part presentation will include the following:

  1. The viewing and discussion of Bullied
  2. A speech explaining his experience with bullying and how he triumphed over the challenges in his life.
  3. An opportunity for audience Q & A.

According to Bucyrus Secondary School Principal Matt Henderson, the topic of bullying is being used as the launching pad for the rest of the program because, "Bullying is an issue we are trying to get ahead of, and it's important that we do what we can to stop it from taking place. In many ways it is impacting our learning environment negatively. My hope is that Mr. Nabozny's presentation speaks to students, encouraging them to take a stand against bullying in our schools."

It's evident that Nabozny's presentation is doing just that, as students in schools from across the country, are sharing their thoughts on his impactful and life-changing story. "Thank you so much for speaking to my classmates last Monday. You reached the hearts and souls (sorry if that sounds cliché) of even the most conservative people in attendance. As a straight 16-year-old male, I found that it would be typical for me to simply accept bullying as human nature and inevitable. Individuals like you inspire me to be a part of the movement toward equal treatment of every human being, no matter what features or traits he/she embodies," Kevin, a high school student.

Andrew, another high school student, shared his opinion, "Thanks for speaking at our school Jamie it really was great. I really respect you for what you did, and now after your movie and everything you said ill think twice before saying something is "Gay" or "Retarded". Again THANK YOU!"

Nabozny's story, which has created dialogue in schools nationwide (much like that seen above), will be used as the framework for Redmen Time discussions throughout the 2011-2012 school year, and is the first of many powerful lessons in the Speak Truth To Power curriculum. The full curriculum, which includes 17 topics ranging from poverty and domestic violence to slavery and freedom of religious political expression, will be slowly integrated into the 6-12 language arts and social studies classes at BSS starting second semester (Jan. 17, 2012).

While the work within the schools regarding bullying is the main focus of BCSD staff and administration, they also feel it is important to start a dialogue in the community. As a result, members of the community are cordially invited to attend a special community forum at 7 p.m. Dec. 14 at the Bucyrus Community Hospital. "Mr. Nabozny will be here to open the discussion and begin the work to bring about an end to the bullying problem in our community," attorney Adam Stone said. "I strongly encourage community members to attend."

The district would like to personally thank the Bucyrus Education Foundation, Bucyrus Rotary Club and Mr. Adam Stone for making this event possible. It is through their kind contributions that this event has become a reality for Bucyrus students, staff and community.

To learn more about Nabozny's story, visit http://blogs.nysut.org/sttp/defenders/jamie-nabozny/.

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