"It's devastating"

No parent wants to see their child go through difficult times, so when Gena Barza's son was being bullied as school, she knew she had to something.

Barza has spoken with police and school officials about the matter that has been going on for three years with some results, but she wanted to do more, so she organized a rally near Pleasant Valley Secondary School in Armstrong to raise awareness of bullying in the school system.

Barza said she did not do it just for her child, but for all children who have felt the wrath of a bully's action.

Several people showed up to support Barza Friday morning and numerous motorists stopped to offer words of support as well.

“The consequences for bullying have to be changed, there has to be some harder laws,” she said. “These kids are continuing to do more and more damage and it's affecting not just my child but many others as well. I don't wish this upon any family and we all need to realize that this is happening and take more steps in our children's lives.”

Barza said the parents of the child being bullied and the parents of the bully need to get involved to resolve the situation.

Bullying is not just limited to face-to-face confrontations, it can be all manner of social media.

“A lot of it is behind the scenes and it's devastating,” she said. “This is why children commit suicide and it has to stop. And the only way it can is if us parents speak up.”

Barza said the impact of bullying is very traumatic for a child with her son not wanting to talk to anyone, leave his room or even eat.

Barza is also lobbying for schools to show a series of videos on bullying in her ongoing effort to help others.

“With the parents' consent, we will have the children at the schools watch these videos,” she said. “This could change a lot of children's lives.”


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