Stonecrest fights bullying
10/4/2013, 6 a.m.
Bullies are not welcome at the Mall at Stonecrest, and it is teaching kids to reject bullying behavior with its “Malls & Retailers Unite Against Bullying” drive.
The campaign, sponsored by Captain McFinn and Friends, kicked off Oct. 1 in association with National Bullying Prevention Month.
Mall shoppers can sign an “Anti-Bullying Pledge” daily at Chick-fil-A in the food court during mall operating hours and at select events taking place throughout October.
Donald Bieler, the Lithonia mall’s director of marketing, said the Mall at Stonecrest is participating in Bullying Prevention Month to bring the community together and educate people about how bullying affects everyone.
He said studies show that bullying causes serious social and emotional problems for children, including depression, low self-esteem and anxiety.
Without intervention, bullies also suffer. As adults, they commit more crimes, use more mental health services, and have a higher risk of alcoholism.
“With hundreds of people coming through our doors each day, we believe we can make a difference in many lives by supporting this cause,” Bieler said.
Nationally, 56 percent of all students have personally witnessed some type of bullying at school. It is estimated that 160,000 children miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students, and one in seven students in grades k-12 is either a bully or a victim of bullying.
Bullying can take many forms, including these types of behavior:
n Physical – hitting, pushing.
n Verbal – slurs, put-downs.
n Indirect – spreading rumors and exclusion.
n Cyber – harassment via texting or the Internet.
The Mall at Stonecrest is off I-20 at Exit 75, Turner Hill Road.