Fighting bullies through music

The issue of bullying came to the forefront Wednesday at Rock Island-Milan School District.

Students are saying ‘no’ to bullying in a song at Denkmann Elementary.

“I’ve seen kids get bullied by a group of kids that think they’re all that,” said Callista Spicer, a sixth grader at the school.

Grammy-nominated songwriter, Steve Seskin, is helping them write their song verse by verse.

“Imagine our schools with no teasing, no bullying and nobody being called names,” said Seskin. “It would be amazing.”

“The district says the purpose of Steve’s visit is to encourage kids to act, not just when they’re being bullied, but when they see others and try to stop it.

“We want them to be able to stand up for themselves, to stand up to their friends, to stand up for the child that no one’s standing up for,” said Melisa Breheny, a counselor at the school.

Jamal Randall knows the importance of this, firsthand.

“I’ve been bullied before, but I had some of my friends to stand up for me,” said Randall.

The writing workshops are part of the district’s compliance with Illinois’ Children’s Mental Health Act of 2003.

Iowa has similar laws for school districts in relation to reporting and preventing bullying.

As for the song itself-“I thought the song was kind of gritty and I kind of like that and if it’s catchy it’ll be in your song, I mean, your head all night,” said Joe Mathias, another sixth grader.

Seskin wrote a song called “Don’t Laugh at Me” which was performed by Mark Wills in 1999.

He’ll be working with the Rock Island Schools through Friday.

On that day, a group of students from every Rock Island school will perform their songs in front of their classmates.

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