Nearly 60 people — youth and adults — came on September 12, 2011, at the Princeton Public Library to see and discuss “Light in the Darkness,” a Not in Our Town/PBS documentary about hate crime. Their comments were heartbreaking and thoughtful, as recorded below. Everyone is invited to the follow-up meeting on Monday, October 3, at 7:30 p.m. in the PPL meeting room on the second floor.

On September 12 everyone was given index cards and pencils and invited to record, anonymously, their ‘bullying’ experiences. They were asked to describe the bullying acts, their own responses and the responses of others. The cards were collected at the end of the meeting. About half of those attending (27) responded.

All but three of the comments were about experiences recollected from school days, including some
from young people attending the event. Only three described bullying/harassment/discrimination
experienced as an adult. The middle school years were most frequently cited as the time of the worst

Sadly, a majority of the responders reported that they did not speak out; neither did anyone come to
their aid. Among those responding who had a positive outcome, the successful interventions came
from teachers (3), classmates (2), camp counselors (1), and family members (2).

The attenders were also asked for suggestions of ways to mitigate bullying in our community.
Some of the very good suggestions include:

• Victims should reach out for help,
• Bystanders should run for help,
• Let the bullies know that we saw it and it’s not OK,
• On the first day of school, principals should make it clear in all school meetings what bullying
is and why it will not be tolerated,
• Family and friends can help by speaking directly to the perpetrators and their families,
• Parents can help by talking with their kids about bullying and helping them really
understand “the bully,”
• We should look into the deeper psychological reasons for bullying and being bullied,

• We should certainly not condone at a political level any evidence of unequal treatment of its


What we need to combat bullying:

• Greater ease of access to counseling,
• Provide emotional support to victim,
• Set strict standards and anti-bullying rules and laws,
• Hold “Bullying Awareness” programs,
• Realize the community can set strict bullying consequences and confront the problem,
• Make the laws more widespread known,
• Have empowerment programs for immigrant groups,
• Offer support groups,
• Ensure that people know that there are resources and people to go to,
• Churches should preach about these things and set a proper example.

Said one participant: The community can set strict bullying consequences and can confront the problem! Please join us on Monday, October 3, at 7:30 p.m.

Marietta Taylor