SCHERERVILLE | Just making people aware of bullying during National Bully Awareness Month wasn't enough for a local teen, who decided to take it a step further.
Bailey Perez, a sophomore at Lake Central High School in St. John, is the founder of T.R.U.T.H - Teens Responsibly Unite To Help. Partnering with her older brother, Blaine O’Neill-Perez, a sophomore at the University of Notre Dame, they brainstormed an idea to see how they could help other youth in the immediate area with the growing issue of bullying.
Researching Indiana state law, the siblings learned that House Enrolled Act 1423 was passed in April and signed by the governor, and they wanted to make sure the youth and parents in the community are aware of the new law and its provisions.
The new law requires each school to have a clear definition of bullying, have clearly outlined discipline procedures in regards to bullying, report cases of bullying, including the number and nature of incidents, and provide prevention education to students and teachers on an annual basis, among other provisions.
Read the complete bill at http://www.in.gov/apps/lsa/session/billwatch/billinfo?year=2013&session=1&request=getBill&docno=1423
The brother and sister reached out to a local attorney and officially established T.R.U.T.H. as a corporation. The next step was to file with the IRS to become a 501c Non-Profit Organization.
Working with the Schererville Parks and Recreation Department, T.R.U.T.H. hosted a booth at the annual Country-A-Fair this fall in Redar Park, kicking off National Bully Awareness Month in the Lake Central School Corp.
Approximately 300 people stopped by to learn more about state and national bullying statistics and take the pledge to never bully and to never stand by and allow someone to be bullied. More than 150 local youth signed a pledge on a “Stop Bullying Wall” and purchased wristbands to show support.
T.R.U.T.H. board members are: Founder Bailey Perez, President Blaine O’Neill-Perez, Vice President Richard Wisniewski and Treasurer Ann Marie O’Neill.
Anyone interested in having a T.R.U.T.H. member speak at a school, company or event can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
T.R.U.T.H.'s Facebook page has had more than 15,000 hits since June and a Twitter account, Instagram account and website, www.truthteen.org, have since been launched.