When Gov. Rick Snyder signed anti-bullying legislation into law on Dec. 7, 2011, MSU visiting instructor Joe Grimm saw a perfect opportunity for one of his classes to create a book researching the ways bullying has evolved over time.
This semester, Grimm’s Journalism 400 class wrote, “The New Bullying: How Social Media, Social Exclusion, Laws and Suicide Have Changed Our Definition of Bullying — and What to Do About it.” The book focuses on how bullying has changed over the course of the last 15 years.
“It’s not the same old bullying,” Grimm said. “Cyberbullying has completely changed things. There is no safe place, (and) you can be bullied in your own home.”
The 17 students in the class did everything from researching, writing, taking video and making graphics to include in the book. Grimm said the book — which is available as an e-book — was released on barnesandnoble.com on April 19, and it was released on amazon.com on April 22. He also said the book will be released in paperback sometime next week.
“We know (bullying) happens on every campus in one place or another,” Grimm said. “I think we would be dishonest with ourselves (to think) that hazing isn’t happening at all.”
Journalism senior Tony Briscoe, who is a student in Grimm’s class, said he enjoyed the project and felt it was necessary to raise awareness about the issue.
“I liked the fact that we were out there to work toward making a difference in the community,” Briscoe said. “I think (bullying is) affecting the most vulnerable people out there, the kids.”
Throughout the class, Grimm had Kevin Epling speak in his class a couple of times to tell of the damage bullying can do. Epling, an East Lansing resident, heavily pushed for the anti-bullying legislation after his son committed suicide in 2002.
After hearing him speak, Briscoe realized how big of a problem bullying actually is.
“It was really touching to see how it can affect the community,” Briscoe said.
Although Grimm said bullying can affect every campus, economics junior Ben Schneedecker said he hasn’t seen bullying as much of an issue at MSU.
“We’re accustomed to so much diversity on a regular basis,” Schneedecker said. “It doesn’t really affect MSU that I’ve seen.”
The class wrote the 180-page book in 100 days and journalism senior Dustin Petty said it was fun and an important issue, but there could be so much more included in the book.
“We only scratched the surface of bullying,” Petty said. “(Bullying) is not necessary. We can stop it if we train the students and teachers.”
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