CdM students participate in Silence the Violence Day

The sounds of the high school band Cosmic Infinity reverberated through Corona del Mar High School's quad Friday, drowning out the conversations of students eating lunch.

As the music geared up, students celebrated breaking the silence, with some pulling pieces of tape from their mouths and speaking for the first time that day.

"I want people to know they are definitely not alone and they can speak up and they have a voice," said freshman Savannah Bachelder, 14, who is part of the Humans Relations Council.

CdM participated in national Silence the Violence Day, a youth movement to raise awareness of the "harassment, prejudice and discrimination that 'silenced' people face on a daily basis," Community Service Coordinator Denise Weiland wrote in an email. "People may be 'silenced' due to their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, appearance and disabilities."

The event, sponsored by the campus' Human Relations Council, gave students speaking cards to explain why they remained silent during first through fourth period. Some students wore pieces of tape with their reason — bullying, cyber-bullying, homophobia, physical perfection — for staying silent.

The event has made an impact on the campus during Principal Tim Bryan's three years at CdM.

"I think, in today's climate, we can't emphasis enough: It's not just tolerance, it's understanding," he said.

For some students who have been bullied, this was a chance to give hope to others going through the same thing.

Savannah was the victim of a cyber-bullying attack by a girl in her group of friends in fifth grade.

In fifth grade Savannah said she was the victim of cyber-bullying after a girl in her group of friends made a fake email account. Posing as Savannah, the girl used the account to send "terrible" emails to Savannah's friends.

Savannah said her mom wouldn't let her read the emails at the time, which her friends thought she had written.

"It was awful," said Savannah. "It was a hard year."

Sienna Petree, 16, a junior, said she too was bullied in elementary school. Friday's events were a reminder for her that even though those days are behind her, there are still people experiencing bullying.

"Now that I have a voice I need to remember there are people that don't have one," she said.

Sienna said she found some people confused about what she was doing, or they tried to make jokes to get her to talk. But people still took notice, she said.

Freshman Cole Rowerdink, 14, said he believes the act won't put an end to bullying, but it did make an impact.

"It won't change everyone," he said, "but it will change some people."

Twitter: @britneyjbarnes

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World