Every child deserves to thrive in a safe school environment that is conducive to learning without the fear or threat of being bullied.
Broward County, Fla. (PRWEB) March 11, 2015
During the 2013-2014 school year, Ms. Gonell’s son was bullied and battered twice in a Broward County Elementary School. Gonell’s son was terrified to go back to school after the alleged second battery. Gonell reached out to the Broward County School Board, the Superintendent’s Office, and even the Florida Department of Education; and no one offered the help or acknowledgement that Gonell felt was required as per the Anti-bullying Law. Gonell had to move her son to another school for his safety. Her son was also diagnosed with PTSD and an Anxiety Disorder due to the trauma he received at this school, as per her son’s psychologist and the School District’s psychologist’s reports.
Despite Ms. Gonell’s well documented complaints to the school administration and teacher, she alleges that there was no action taken to protect her son. Gonell filed an Anti-Bullying Report, which was handed over to the Principal for investigation. After 7 months of trying to receive justice for her son, Gonell decided to take action into her own hands by retaining legal counsel. Despite retaining counsel, Gonell alleges that the school board has yet to take resposibility. This is when Gonell began her Anti Bullying Advocacy.
January 1, 2015, Gonell became the Founder, President and CEO of a National nonprofit Foundation called Anti-Bullying Zone. Gonell and her Board Members quickly began to realize what they believe are many flaws with regards to Anti Bullying laws. They also discovered, what is in their opinion, a lack of enforcement regarding the existing Anti-Bullying Laws in many schools. Parents Nationwide began to reach out to Gonell, and it was then she discovered just how large this social issue has become. Gonell realized she was not alone, and began to feel determined to help others.
Gonell found the statistics staggering as she researched various sources, which provided her with statistics such as approximately 160,000 children miss school per day due to fear of being bullied (NEA). Youth victimized by their peers were 2.4 times more likely to report suicidal ideation and 3.3 times more likely to report a suicide attempt than youth who reported not being bullied (Espelage and Holt 2013). Nearly 1 in 3 students report being bullied during the school year (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2013). “These are just a few examples as to how I feel Bullying is hurting our society and our youth,” states Gonell.
Anti-Bullying Zone is on a mission to seek help from the Federal Government to pass an enforceable Federal Anti-Bullying Law. “Our youth are our now and our future,” states Gonell, “Every child deserves to thrive in a safe school environment that is conducive to learning without the fear or threat of being bullied.” It is Gonell’s mission to make this a reality for the youth in our country.