PORT CHESTER, N.Y. -- A small group of Port Chester residents have formed a committee to help the schools fight bullying.
The group includes James Carriere, Steve Carroll and Tom Corbia, who were inspired to join together after reading about bullying at Port Chester High School in the Westmore News. They are planning to host events such as a golf tournament to raise money to fund school programs that will provide counseling to both the victims of bullying, as well as the bullies themselves. The group is currently working out the details of the golf tournament fundraiser, but Corbia said it will likely take place in September or early October and be an annual event.
"This is a worldwide issue," Carriere said. "It's tough enough to be a kid, we want them to come to school and feel safe."
The schools regularly run programs about the dangers of bullying, but the group wants to raise money so that more can be done without costing the taxpayers anything.
Corbia, who was a teacher and coach and now serves on the Board of Education, said, "I know from being in the schools that it is being addressed, but it is such a systemic problem in society that the four of us felt that the schools could always use some help."
Corbia pointed to instances where kids use social media to bully their classmates. Because their names are attached to their profiles, "they end up indicting themselves," Corbia said. "We need to not just help the kids who are being bullied, but we need to find out why the bullies are doing it and help them too."
The group has also designed t-shirts with an anti-bullying slogan. The front of the shirt reads "It's not PC to be a bully" and the back says "Easy to hurt, harder to help." The slogan was inspired by the late John Branca, a former mayor of Port Chester. Carriere said that he always looked up to Branca. "He always told me that when it came to people, it's easy to hurt someone, but it's harder to help, so I've adopted that as our slogan."
Carriere said that the group is hoping that this year the schools could have a day where all of the students wear the t-shirts. "That will show that we're not going to accept bullies in the schools, that we're not going to accept bullies in the village, that we're not going to accept bullies period," he said. "It's just something that I feel has to be done."