From right, Miss NY 2011 Kaitlin Monte poses for a photo with Mohonasen kindergarten students Leah Scalise and her friend Haley Rider. Monte talked to Draper Middle School students about her anti-bully campaign earlier on Friday, May 18.
Photo by John Purcell.
continued “Kids can give their responses, and that is how they wrote the law,” she said. “Adults can’t fix this, because they don’t know what it is.”
She said she wanted to make sure the law had “some teeth on it,” so the law is seeking to link cyber bullying to criminal stalking and harassment charges.
Monte also started a petition on change.org calling for New York to adopt cyberbullying laws. It has 3,275 signatures.
Jodi Scalise, a teacher at Draper, said she contacted Monte because she had taught with her sister in Rochester, where Monte is from.
“I watched her journey through the Miss America pageant,” Scalise said. “I felt like it was important for our school and my own children to listen to her strong message about doing the right thing and standing up for what’s right.”
Scalise said cyberbullying is “never ending,” so giving students really specific ways to address cyberbullying and deal with the situations was helpful.
Having students listen to someone closer to their age, rather than their parents or teachers, also helped solidify the message with students.
“She knows. She has been there. It has happened to her,” Scalise said. “She has that first hand experience, so she understands and can be empathetic.”