Bullying survivor tells Hawaii students: Standing by quietly is no solution

(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Through a mix of humor and some serious skits Adult Friends for Youth attacked bullying from a personal perspective during a conference for kids at the Blaisdell Concert Hall.

Nineteen-year-old Hans Hanis was bullied when he was in the sixth-grade.

"I'm a bullying survivor. It was mainly the seventh-graders and eighth-graders and a couple high schoolers. They came after me, stomped on me, hit me," he said.

About 2,000 elementary school students heard his story at Monday's presentation while 2,000 middle-school students got it last week. They were all asked to raise their hands if they've been bullied.

"Almost every single hand goes up. They close their eyes and they raise their hands when they're asked the question. We know the kids are dealing with this on a regular basis," said AFY's Debbie Spencer-Chun.

Each student was given a folder with a list of places they and their parents can call for help if they're been bullied or they know someone who is being harassed. They were also asked to make a pledge not to bully another person.

"We also want to get to the bullies. It's about getting to both of them to say if you're going through some trouble there's someone who wants to help you, too," Spencer-Chun said.

Hanis's situation got better after he told his parents and his school's principal. He encouraged the audience to do the same.

"What I don't want them doing is holding it in. It can pressure them to the point where it can lead to suicide. We don't want that," he said.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates a third of students will be bullied at least once before they graduate from high school.

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