At annual conference, students use acceptance and respect to battle bullying

At annual conference, students use acceptance and respect to battle bullying
Students participate in an anti-bullying conference in Honolulu. (Source: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - For the third year straight year, CrimeStoppers partnered with Adult Friends for Youth on Monday to host an annual conference with a very specific mission: educating thousands of Hawaii keiki about the impact bullying has on others.

The program encourages the children to follow the anti-bullying acronym P.E.A.R.L.: Peace, Empathy, Acceptance, Respect and Love. Using the acronym as a guide, CrimeStoppers has created a proactive avenue for students to report bullying to help create safer campuses.

“A lot of times these kids are afraid of retaliation and repercussions or being known as a ‘rat’ or a ‘snitch,’ but with the CrimeStoppers program they can report it to us, anonymously, and we can work with the school or HPD to fix the situation,” said Chris Kim, sergeant of CrimeStoppers Honolulu.

Monday’s conference included skits performed by AFY students, VIP speakers and the presentation of the PEARL Hero Awards. Along with discussions about preventing violence and bullying, the program also has a focus on social media safety.

Given today’s emphasis on modern technology, cyberbullying, has increasingly raised alarms.

“We speak to the students about staying safe in cyberspace and the repercussions of cyberingbuling. We tell them to be mindful of what they post on their social media accounts, and that they could be liable for harassment laws,” said Kim.

60 schools are currently implementing the PEARL programs on their campuses.