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Students asked to 'Step Up, Speak Out, End Bullying'

PSA competition targets violence in schools

Tucson-area students can have their voices heard in a competition aimed at stopping bullying in schools.

The Fund for Civility, Respect and Understanding is sponsoring "Step Up, Speak Out, End Bullying," a contest for students in the community to create public service announcements to combat bullying. Adults also can participate, said Matt Russell, spokesman for the Fund.

In the past year, nearly 20 percent of high school students reported cases of being bullied while on school property, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. As a result, many have refused to go to school because they do not feel safe.

“Since last summer, we have been working on bullying prevention strategies with educators from local school districts, leaders from social service agencies, physicians and community volunteers,” said Ron Barber, co-founder of the Fund, in a press release.

Submissions for the competition opened Feb. 22 and the deadline is March 31. Videos can be uploaded on the contest page at www.endofbullying.com. Submissions can be viewed by the public at the site.

The video must be 30 seconds in length, address a solution to bullying, and include the Fund for Civility, Respect, and Understanding and EndofBullying logos and website.

A winner will be chosen from four age-based categories and will receive cash and other prizes, Russell said.

The grand-prize winners will be announced on April 28, during National Crime Victim Rights week, at The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd.

“We recognized that a critical voice which needed to be a part of the solution was the voice of children themselves,” Barber said in the release. “Who have unique perspectives on the impact of bullying. This inspired the idea behind the PSA contest, and we’re hoping to receive many submissions.”

The Fund was created by the family of Ron Barber to foster compassion within the community in the wake of the Jan. 8 shootings. Barber, then district director for former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, was wounded in the attack that claimed six lives and wounded 12 others, including Giffords.

The Fund for Civility, Respect, and Understanding sponsors programs in public schools and helps students understand the effects of bullying.

The competition's sponsors include Cox Communications, The Loft Cinema, The Pima County Attorney’s Office, Homicide Survivors, Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault, Our Family Services  and Tucson Unified School District.

For more details about the contest, visit www.EndofBullying.com.

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According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 20 percent of students said they had been bullied on school property.