Kinsey takes action against bullying

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 11 – State Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., is taking action to combat bullying following an alarming attack that happened in his community.

“It made me sick to see video of Mark Smith, a man who has an intellectual disability, innocently standing in broad daylight over the summer, when he was suddenly attacked by a group of teenagers right on a main business strip in the northwest section of Philadelphia,” Kinsey said. “This kind of senseless behavior has to stop and it’s time we all got onboard to find a solution.”

Kinsey was joined today by Smith and his caregiver, Pamela Pendleton, along with a number of local elected officials, including state Reps. Izzy Fitzgerald and Chris Rabb, both D-Phila.; and Councilwoman Cindy Bass; and Philadelphia Police Inspector Anthony Washington for a news conference at the Germantown Life Enrichment Center where he introduced House Resolution 450, which would recognize October as Bullying Prevention Awareness Month in Pennsylvania.

“This month-long effort is to jumpstart a movement for everyone across the commonwealth to take an active role in putting an end to these emotional and physical acts of violence against people of all ages,” Kinsey said.

Local advocates were also on hand, including Know Bully Coalition, Every Murder is Real, Northwest Victims Services, Men Who Care, Teach Anti-Bullying, and Staying Positive Equals Amazing Kids (S.P.E.A.K.), One Love Philly Guns Down, Unification Family Church of Philadelphia and the Office of Safe Schools.

Bullying can range from verbal and physical abuse to online harassment. It can have lasting effects on a victim’s mental health, self-esteem, and even lead to substance abuse and/or suicide.

“This issue isn’t new, but it continues getting worse,” Kinsey explained. “With social media and other technological advancements, bullies are finding new ways to prey on victims, which has proven to be deadly.”

Warning signs that someone is being bullied include:

  • Unexplainable injuries;
  • Frequent headaches or stomach aches;
  • Changes in eating habits;
  • Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations

Kinsey went on to say, “The important thing to know is there is help out there and it’s our job to make sure our loved ones have those resources to prevent further pain.”