Tag Archives: Hanna Kytlica

Friend or Foe: You Can’t Sit with Us

“You can’t sit with us.”

So says Regina George in the 2004 movie Mean Girls, a satirical look at the very real phenomenon of bullying, an increasing problem for children and teens.

Today, technology and social media are being used to take bullying from schools and parks right into victims’ homes, pockets, and purses.

The National Education Association estimates that 160,000 children miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students.

High school senior Hanna Kytlica said she had stopped attending cheerleading team because of a bully, and ended up transfering to a high school with a zero tolerance bullying policy. Kytlica said she didn’t wanted to quit cheerleading or leave her school, but it was not worth the torment she went through.

“I’m gonna live my life,” Kytlica said. “I’m gonna be who I am. I learned that it made me such a strong person. I can sit by myself, I’m not afraid like in Mean Girls, because I’m comfortable with who I am, which is the most important part of growing up.”

Stopbullying.gov, managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, defines bullying as “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance.”

The department’s website says that “bullying is repeated over time, including actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.”

“People continue to bully because there is a hierarchy that reinforces the actions of bullying to maintain their power status,” Marriage and Family Therapist Joey Dolowy said.

WeUpstanders is an anti-bullying non-profit organization, with the goal to help support victims of bullying while informing the public of bullying at schools and on social media. Members share how bullies have picked on them for multiple reasons such as skin color, body types, social status, speaking English as a second language, and so on.

“I’m colored,” one Upstanders team member said, “and I was smaller than everybody else, so I was bullied and got called racist names.”

Cyberbullying has increased due to the availability of internet and social media sites. The National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics reported in its 2010-2011 School Crime Supplement that nine percent of students in grades 6–12 experienced cyberbullying, and the Centers for Disease Control found in their 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey  that 15 percent of high school students were electronically bullied in the past year.

“Internet bullying has grown because it is more accessible and easier to bully people from the comfort of their own home,” Dolowy said.

Stopbullying.gov says kids who are bullied may be at risk of increased alcohol and drug use, skipping school, poor grades, lower self-esteem, and even more health problems.

Dolowy said the best way to prevent bullying is to “walk away, and provide evidence to show administration and faculty.”

“Parents, school staff, and other adults in the community can help kids prevent bullying by talking about it, building a safe school environment, and creating a community-wide bullying prevention strategy,” WeUpstanders’ website said.

“Being able to talk to my mom got me through it,” Kytlica said.

If you or someone you know is being bullied, you can contact the Cyber Bully Hotline at 1-800-420-1479.


Moderator: Samantha Benitz

Producer: Ken Harvey

Anchor: Ashley Goosen

Reporters: Beau Akers, Cristal Canedo, Briseida Holguin and Nancy Moreira






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