'Nebraska Stand for The Silent Day' April 20th

The following article appeared in the Monday, April 2, 2012 edition of the Lincoln Journal Star. April 20, 2012 has been designated 'Nebraska Stand for The Silent Day' to recognize the victims of bullying who often endure the torment in silence. This is the day that the countless victims and bystanders are rising up to take a stand against bullying.

Please take a moment to read the article, forward it to the school that your child, grandchild, niece or nephew goes to and ask them to participate in this very important event.

People interested in receiving balloons and taking part in Nebraska Stand for The Silent Day can go to www.serve.nebraska.gov and click on the Stand for the Silent tag.

For more information contact Heather Millard at 712-203-1852 or heather.millard@nebraska.gov; or Cathleen Plager at ServeNebraska at 402-471-6226 or cathleen.plager@nebraska.gov.

Nebraska students urged to Stand for The Silent

By ERIN ANDERSEN / Lincoln Journal Star | Posted: Sunday, April 1, 2012

Every seven seconds, someone somewhere is bullied. Often that person remains silent, internalizing the torment until he or she no longer can take it.

In Nebraska, those victims and the countless bystanders are asked to take a stand on Nebraska Stand for The Silent Day on April 20.

Stand for The Silent is a national anti-bullying movement started in Oklahoma in response to the suicide of 11-year-old Ty Smalley, who killed himself after being suspended for retaliating against the bully who had picked on him for two years. Smalley's parents, Kirk and Laura Smalley, were in Lincoln and surrounding communities two weeks ago sharing their story.

On Nebraska Stand for the Silent Day, it is hoped that each of Nebraska's 340,000 students will launch a Stand for The Silent biodegradable latex balloon, said Heather Millard, one of the Nebraska Stand for The Silent Day organizers.

A Rural Improvement for School and Employment officer with the State of Nebraska Probation department, Millard said she sees every day how bullying affects people and their actions.

As part of the launch, students across the state will go outside, observe seven seconds of silence, then release their balloons while reciting the anti-bullying group's pledge:

From this day forward, I promise to respect those around me as well as respect myself.
I am somebody, and I can make a difference.
I can make another feel loved. I can be the helping hand that leads another back to a path of hope and aspiration. I will not stand silent as others try to spread hatred through my community.
Instead, I pledge to lift up these victims and show them that their lives matter.
I will be the change because I AM SOMEBODY.

Participants will be asked to sign their pledge cards and carry them as a reminder to the promise they made, Millard said.

The 360,000 blue balloons have been donated by Oriental Trading Company in Omaha. An anonymous donor paid for the pledge cards. Schools and local organizations are being asked to supply the helium for the balloons, as well as the support of their students.

Millard and her fellow Nebraska Stand for The Silent organizer, Cathleen Plager, have worked tirelessly to spread the word, but response while growing remains slow. At last count, 25,000 balloons have been requested by Nebraska schools. She hopes to multiply that number 14 times over in the next two weeks.

Nebraska Stand for the Silent Day, which coincides with Global Youth Service Day, has been endorsed by many Nebraska organizations including the Nebraska Teachers Association, SCIP (a program for school and community safety), Nebraska State Probation and several University of Nebraska-Lincoln student athletes including football player Rex Burkhead, women's basketball player Kaitlyn Burke and track and field athlete Chris Phipps.

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