The retired educator has 27 years in public education under her belt, and these days, she’s turning some of her extra time in to battling bullying for youth.
A member of the Rushing Springs District Baptist Association, Moon, along with members of the association, other friends and youngsters marched against bullying in an event held in Talladega that started at the Talladega Chamber of Commerce and continued up Battle Street to Greater Ebenezer Baptist Church.
The march was about 200 people strong.
Moon defines bullying as “Habitual, cruel, unwanted, aggressive afflictions directed toward others. And this has reached epidemic proportions. It not affects students at school, bullying is evident at home, at work, in the community and even at church.”
She sees school as a place where children an go and study, be safe and be sociable, not a place where they are tortured by bullying.
Moon is fervent in her belief that the trend of bullying can be stopped.
“American sociologist Margaret Mead said to never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world,” Moon said.
Mead’s comment continues with “Indeed, it is the only thing that can,” Moon quotes.
As for the march, Moon said her thought were not to raise money, but to raise awareness.
“Bullying hurts emotionally, physically, and even causes death by murder or suicide,” she said.
According to the nonprofit organization the National Bullying Prevention Center’s Pacer anti-bullying organization, nearly one-third of all school-aged children are bullied each year, upwards of 13 million students.
Nationwide, 20 percent of students in grades nine through 12 experienced bullying. (Source: The 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
Nationwide, 28 percent of students in grades six through 12 experienced bullying. (Source: The 2008–2009 School Crime Supplement National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics).
Also, 64 percent of children who were bullied did not report it, only 36 percent reported the bullying.
The organization also reports that more than half of bullying situations (57 percent) stop when a peer intervenes on behalf of the student being bullied.
“The culture of bullying won’t end until people across the country take action and show kids that they care,” says Julie Hertzog, director of PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. “National Bullying Prevention Month, which is in October, is a great opportunity to do that. This is a very real and painful issue that kids are facing but they don’t have to face it alone. Bullying can be prevented if we all work together to change the culture.”
The idea of a march against bullying seemed perfect to Moon for getting the word out.
“This approach was unique because we had never heard of an anti-bullying walkathon and we carried our message into the community for everyone to see, head and to participate.”
Her comment about the walkathon?
“It was awesome,” she said. “We were under the guidance and protection of the Talladega Police Department, with one patrol car leading and one following behind.”
There were even six church vans willed with people who wanted to take part, but were unable to make the walk, Moon said.
Once the group reached Greater Ebenezer Church, a welcome was delivered by Alexis McKinney. The featured speaker was Annie Eaton, a member of Howard Chapel CME Church and Cristin Foster of the David Matthews Center for Civil Life in Birmingham.
The event included lunch and presentations from praise dancers, musical presentations, spirit cheering and an anti-bullying skit.
The dismissal prayer was given by Greater Ebenezer’s the Rev. A.C. McKinney.
There are many “thanks” to be given for the special event, Moon said.
Another youth activity of the Rushng Springs District is giving awards to graduating seniors in high school who memorize selected scripture passages and recite them during the district’s annual convention. A point system is used by a panel of judges to select the winners.
The winners in the primary division were Donovan James Daniel, first place; Roland Jemison, second place; and Javis Sistruck, third place. Kaylee Patterson received an honorable mention.
Winners in the intermediate division were Jaylandis Sistrunk, first place; India Harris, second place; Terry Lamar Thomas, third place.
Winners in the junior division were Taylor Hammonds, first place; Savanna Johnson, second place; Alexandria Foy, third place; and Talyjah Moore, honorable mention.