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When I met New York Times best-selling author Jodee Blanco back in April 2008, I had already read her books on bullying—Please Stop Laughing at Me... and Please Stop Laughing at Us...—and was a believer in her message. So much, in fact, that I drove 262 miles in the dark to catch her in action at Mayfield Intermediate School in Manassas, Virginia.
She took the stage that day for the first of three sessions. The first was with the entire student body, the second with teachers and school administrators and the third, later that day, with parents and students. She blew me away. You could hear a pin drop—truly.
Her story of being bullied as a kid resonated with the student body in powerful ways, and she opened up the topic in real and life-changing ways. I was a witness to real change unfolding. When I read the latest headlines surrounding nine high school students in Massachusetts being charged with criminal counts following the bullying-induced suicide of freshman Phoebe Prince, I knew it was high time to try to make some sense out of this terrorizing cycle of abuse that is all too common in our kids' lives.