During my undergraduate internship in 2002-2003 at Salisbury Middle School in Wicomico County, my team and I developed and facilitated a mentoring program, providing one-on-one conflict resolution and mediating skills to students who were identified by the program coordinator with ongoing needs of behavioral issues. One of the primary areas we focused on was educating and addressing bullying issues with bullies and victims. In my graduate program, I also facilitated a school bullying focus group in 2005 at Maryvale Elementary School in Montgomery County, to teach participants about bullying behaviors and how to avoid bullying others. I also attended several bullying workshops to learn about the latest studies while working with the students. My passion on this topic followed me even as I served as a member on the Committee on Hate/Violence at Montgomery County Office of Human Rights, in 2013. There I developed a brochure for students and parents for the annual bullying symposium and, provided rich knowledge and skills on this topic throughout the year.
My fascination with school bullying deepened during my doctoral research study in 2015. I explored how parents felt as they witnessed their children's bullying experience. The study looked not only at the steps parents took to address the problem, but how they advocated for their children. It also covered how bullying impacted the dynamic of the household unit. Shockingly, what my study revealed was baffling, disturbing and disheartening. Parents made an extreme amount of efforts to resolve the problem, but their relentlessness and persistence were not enough--this was a concern and very alarming. As I conducted the interviews, I felt their frustration and anger. As they walked me through their stories, I saw how difficult it was for the parents to relive their experiences, even though some years had passed with some of the incidents. Their pain was evident, especially as it related to how their families (as a whole) were negatively impacted.