Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan to Attend Stop Bullying Day Event Where 2,000 Students Will Sign World's Largest Stop Bullying Banner

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In response to headlines attributing teen suicides to bullying, Hey U G L Y and their Stop Bullying Task Force of students designated February 10 as National Stop Bullying Day to help teens and tweens have a voice against bullying. Using skits, rap songs and their discoveries about bullying, these students will inspire their peers to find the courage to become a part of the solution and end bullying.

In response to headlines attributing several teen suicides to bullying, Hey U G L Y (http://heyugly.org) and their Stop Bullying Task Force of students designated February 10 as National Stop Bullying Day to help teens and tweens have a voice against bullying. Two events will be presented by students who have gone through Hey U G L Y's stop-bullying program at La Porte High School (LPHS) and St. Stanislaus Kosta School. More than 2,000 area students will be taking the first steps to end bullying in their lives.

Using skits, rap songs and their discoveries about bullying, these students will inspire their peers to find the courage to become a part of the solution and end bullying. Each student will take the "Stop Bullying Pledge" and then sign the World's Largest Stop Bullying Banner. The 100 lb. banner, donated by U.S. Banner Corporation of Greenville, SC and designed by Decal Arts and Signs of La Porte, IN, is the length of a football field. The banner will travel to other schools in Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado and New Mexico for student presentations and signings throughout the school year.

Hey U G L Y's LPHS Stop Bullying Task Force initiated a letter writing campaign to President Barack Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Mr. Duncan is scheduled to attend their event which takes place Wednesday morning February 10, 9:00 a.m. CST in the gymnasium of La Porte High School, 602 F Street, La Porte, IN 46350. That afternoon at 1:00 p.m. CST in the gymnasium of St. Stanislaus Kostka School, 1506 Washington Street, Michigan City, IN, a similar event will take place.

Hey U G L Y's LPHS Stop Bullying Task Force of 18 students will be presenting to 1,950 students at their assembly; while Hey U G L Y's St. Stans Task Force of 17 students will present to 140 of their peers.

In attendance at the events will be: Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan from the US Department of Education; La Porte, IN Mayor Kathleen A. Chroback; Michigan City, IN Mayor Chuck Oberlie; Principal Greg Handel of LPHS; Principal Dr. Sue Bryant of St. Stans; Hey U G L Y co-founder, Betty Hoeffner; Educational Advisor, Ingrid Voelker

Bullying is a critical issue facing students today (CDC). Approximately 864,000 teens report staying home one day a month because they fear for their safety. Nearly 5.7 million kids and teens are bullies, have been bullied, or both (National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center).

"We originally contacted Hey U G L Y to help us create an anti-bully environment," explained Dr. Sue Bryant, St. Stan's principal. "It quickly became apparent that their approach to developing self-esteem directly attacks the bully syndrome. Students who feel empowered to be genuine and accepting of others don't bully others and don't usually become victims of bullies. We feel we got more than we asked for: A great approach to creating an anti-bully environment and a new program to help our students develop strong self-confidence."

Students from Hey U G L Y's Stop Bullying Task Force have a lot to say about bullying. According to Brad: “When you bully you kind of ruin yourself. You hurt yourself after you bully each time.” Mattie thinks: "We all learned that it’s really bad to bully and how it hurts each other, people and ourselves. Now we know not to do it anymore.” Adrian believes: "Bullying is not just in one place, it's all over. If we can stop it here it can be shopped everywhere.:

The Stop Bullying events are made possible by the generous support of U.S. Banner Corporation, Decal Arts & Signs, Wrigley, Taco Bell, Kroger, Hair Cuttery, Klassman Financial, Naprapathic Medicine of New Mexico, Michigan City Community Enrichment Corporation, Purdue North Central, Kroczek’s Lawn & Landscape, gohealthinsurance.com, La Porte Herald Argus, Michigan City News Dispatch, La Porte High School and St. Stanislaus School.

Hey U G L Y (http://heyugly.org) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering teens and tweens with self-esteem and diversity-building programs, books, content and tools to help them counter bullying, obesity, racism and suicide. (UGLY is an acronym for Unique Gifted Lovable You.) The Hey UGLY message has reached over 650,000 students through their website, books, presentations and work with schools, community organizations and youth development professionals.

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Betty Hoeffner
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