Stopping bullies: Bozza essay wins Bangiola award in Morris Plains

Elizabeth Bozza, winner of the 2018 Paul Bangiola Good Citizenship Award.
Elizabeth Bozza, winner of the 2018 Paul Bangiola Good Citizenship Award.
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From the Morris Plains Democratic Committee:

Each year, the Morris Plains Democratic Committee invites 8th grade students to write an essay about some aspect of good citizenship. Members of the committee independently evaluate the essays without knowing the identity of the writers, to avoid bias.

The winning essay earns its writer the Paul Bangiola Good Citizenship Award, honoring former Morris Plains Mayor and Judge, Paul Bangiola, in addition to a check for $250.

This year’s essay question: “Bullying and name-calling have become more of a problem recently. Think about what you would do if you witnessed someone who was being unfairly criticized or bullied. What can you, other students, and your teachers do to discourage or prevent bullying?”

Thirteen students put considerable effort into writing thoughtful, well-organized essays. This year’s winner is Elizabeth Bozza.  Elizabeth’s essay fully answered the question while exhibiting wisdom and empathy.  Elizabeth will be attending the STEM Academy at Morristown High School in the fall. Her hobbies include sports, music and theater.

What Would I Do If I Witnessed Someone Being Bullied?

By Elizabeth Bozza

In today’s world, bullying is becoming a bigger problem every day. Kids who are insecure tend to pick on other kids to make them feel better about themselves. It’s a growing issue for the future, and should be stopped.

However, most people I know, including myself, have been in situations where they witnessed a bully in action.

In the moment, it’s difficult to decide how to react. Do you stand up for them? Do you stay out of it? Do you tell an adult?

These days, so many different methods about stopping bullying are being taught to kids, and it’s hard to tell what to do when it comes time. If I was in a situation like this, I would choose to stand up for the victim of the bully, and I encourage this method for the children of the future.

I decided that this would be the best way to react because I followed an old saying from a popular wise figure of literature, Atticus Finch, from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

He said, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.”

This quote really hit home when considering how I’d react as a witness in a bullying situation. I stepped into the victim’s shoes, and decided that I would want one of my peers to help me out if I could not help myself. I would want to know that somebody is there for me.

A lot of times, the victim is too scared or vulnerable to stand up for his or herself. If I was watching somebody else get bullied, I would respectfully step in and tell the bully to stop.

If that didn’t work, I would try one more time to tell him or her to leave the victim alone. I would speak strongly, but still respectfully. If this didn’t work, which hopefully it wouldn’t get to this point, I would take the high road and walk away with the victim.

Violence is never the answer, so I would never let a situation get to that point. If in the future the bullying with the same victim continued and nothing changed, I would take action and tell an adult, so that someone else knew what was going on.

No human being deserves to be treated in such a way, and I would go to any measures to cease bullying forever.

Teachers and students should treat others with kindness in order to prevent bullying. If more kindness is promoted throughout the world, people all over will catch on and the world will become a happier place.

It all starts with you, and knowing in your heart that it is not right to bully, but necessary to spread love and kindness.

Many bullies of today are ruthless and insecure. They will stop at nothing to make sure someone else is feeling worse than they are. The only reason they have to bully others is to make their pain decrease by making someone else miserable.

Bullying is a growing problem in today’s world, and I encourage others to take the same measures I would to make sure that one day, bullying is gone for good.

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