Require schools to allow youth to participate in antibullying policy making
  • Petitioned Ben Rarick

This petition was delivered to:

Executive Director, Washington State Board of Education
Ben Rarick
Executive Committee Acting Chair
Mary Jean Ryan
Executive Committee Member
Dr. Kristina Mayer
Executive Committee Member
Judy Jennings
SBE Board Member Eastern Washington Region 2
Phyllis Bunker Frank
SBE Board Member Position 4
Connie Fletcher
SBE Board Member Western WA Position 4
Bob Hughes
SBE Board Member Position 2
Tre' Maxie
SBE Board Member Eastern WA Region 1
Cynthia McMullen, JD
SBE Board Member Western Wshington Region 3
Kevin Laverty
SBE Board Member Position 1
Deborah J Wilds, Ph.D.
SBE Board Member Position 3
Isabel Munoz-Colon
Western Washington Region 5
Peter Maier, J.D.
Elected statewide to Superintendent position
Randy Dorn
SBE Easter WA Student Representative
Eli Ulmer
SBE Western WA Student Representative
Mara Childs

Require schools to allow youth to participate in antibullying policy making

    1. Petition by

      The Power Cave

Some bullying in school used to be seen as a right of passage for kids in school. Middle schoolers especially. However over the last 5-10 years, bullying in and out of school has gotten way out of hand and led to increasing violence among students, higher rates of students dropping out of school completely and even suicides of children as young as 9 years old.

As a cancer survivor, a special ed student, part of the deaf and hard of hearing community, a student who is about 5 inches shorter than other my age and someone who has missed a lot of school, I have found myself to be on the wrong end of bullying. Whether it was kids or even adults making fun of me because I had no hair, the fact that I still write phonetically, asking if I'm a boy or a girl, don't read out loud very well or by leaning on my shoulder and telling me I'm the size of a hobbit (thank you Lord of the Rings). Lucky for me, I have been surrounded by family that has taught me how to stick up for myself, share my struggles openly and how to stand up for those around me. However, not all kids my age have that support or even the back bone if they did. What we as students are left with is adults who think they know what we go through as kids and teens. They make policies that affect us but often times aren't adept or willing to properly enforce them and we are still left fending for ourselves in a world that had dramatically changed since they were kids.

Unfortunately, we live in a dangerous world where kids don't bring Swiss Army knives to school for show-and-tell, they bring AK-47 hell bent on wiping out as many kids as they can as part of revenge killings. And revenge for what?.... bullying! This is why we as kids and teenagers need to be part of the conversation. We need to have our voices heard. We need adults to stop talking at us and start talking with us about how school administrators can help us stay safe as well as how we can help ourselves by creating a community of empathetic leaders.

It is absolutely imperative that the needs of kids and teens in schools in Washington State and beyond are represented during these crucial conversations. As much as administrators, adults who are educated, adults who spend time with kids on a daily basis and some who are even parents themselves, what to believe that they have first hand knowledge of the issues kids and teens face, the disgusting words that are hurled at us, the way we are made to feel as if we don't exist or never should have existed, the simple truth is that they don't.

I have a story of my own to share and I know that other students in my school and other schools every where all have stories of their own as well. Sharing can come in many forms; speaking to the student body directly, writing in a school newsletter, role playing, curriculum etc. It is in these stories, the truths of our lives that we can find ways in which we are all more alike rather than more different. Allowing students to create groups within the confines of a school will allow kids like me and my friends to come together, share the issues we are having in a safe environment, and open a dialogue between students and teachers with the hope that by creating a community where bullying is not only unacceptable but openly discussed, as students, the next generation of leaders we will become less apathetic and more empathetic. We are leaders, we are strong, courageous and we deserve to be part of the conversation that may one day save our lives. Bullying has life long effects on all of us, conscious or unconscious and limiting the negative effects is paramount. Let us be heard!

Recent signatures

    News

    1. VICTORY!!!!

      ###########
      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
      November 15, 2013
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      SBE Adopts Resolution Supporting Inclusion of Students in Anti-Bullying Policy Development.

    2. Anti Bullying campaign gaining attention in the media

      Kajmere was interviwed on On Oct 13th by The Federal Way Mirror newspaper for her anti bullying efforts. We hope you all had a chance to read it and if you didn't here is the link. Thank you all for your support. We go to Vancouver in November for the official vote on her petition but it's not over yet we still need signatures so keep em coming!

      http://www.federalwaymirror.com/news/227426301.html

      Teen cancer survivor fights bullying with state policy petition

      After beating back cancer three times in her short life, 14-year-old Kajmere Houchins has found another opponent to take on: bullying. Houchins, a student at Illahee Middle School in Federal Way, has started a petition on change.org that calls for students to be included when their schools and school districts begin to draft anti-bullying policies.

    3. Kajmere interviewed by King 5 News

      On Oct 15th, Kajmere led her school in an anti bullying assembly! She was amazing. She was poised, thoughtful and the kids sat through an hour long assembly with out issue. Afterwards, a local news stations, King 5 and reporter Megan Coyle came to interview her. It was awesome. She was featured on the local news on in a story about her efforts and her petition. It's working. Keep forwarding, keep posting. Thank you for the support.

      Here is the link to her story!
      http://www.king5.com/news/local/Teen-who-fought-cancer-3-times-takes-on-school-bullying-227913601.html

      -Julie, mom

      14-year-old who fought cancer 3 times takes on bullying

      FEDERAL WAY, Wash. -- On a typical Tuesday at Illahee Middle School in Federal Way, students aren't just running to their next class. Many of them are running from something-- or someone - who makes them feel bad. Kajmere Houchins is tired of it. "It's ridiculous. It's all because of bullying," she said.

    4. Media Blitz!

      Kajmere Houchins was featured in the Federal Way Mirror on Oct 13, 2013 for her anti bullying efforts. The media has caught on to what she is doing and her voice is being heard.

    5. Illahee Middle School Jumps on the Band Wagon

      On September 12th, Kajemre was invited to meet with school administrators at Illahee Middle School in Federal Way, WA where she is an 8th grader.

      As part of pushing Kajmeres petition through we had previously reached out the them inviting them to be the first school to help implement her ideas and they agreed! Not only did they agree, they let Kajmere come up with a whole plan for revamping the anti-bullying program and ideas to increase the reinforcement by planning events through out the year and starting her student anti-bullying group. She had a district employee volunteer to advise the group and we spent the morning going over ideas for creating a new community at Illahee. One free of harassment and bullying and a safe place for kids to come and feel hear,respected and as if they have a stake in their respective futures.

      It was amazing to see Kajmere share her ideas with people who were all ears. Thank you again for your continued support!
      -Julie Smith

    6. We are Winning!

      On September 11,2013, Kajmere went to Yakima, WA to attend the quarterly Washington State Board of Education Meeting. She was able to present her petition to the board members and was greated with an applause. Everyone was extremely receptive to her ideas.

      All in all, the board decided to convene a special youth council to discuss Kajmeres petition and to take a vote. If the petition is passed the Board will begin working on adding it into existing anti-bullying policy!

      This is a huge step in a mission that Kajmere has taken head on and the impact is spreading very fast. People at the highest levels in WA State are talking about the work she has done and she has full support from across the state.
      We could not have come this far if it wasn't for all of you who have been supporting us the entire time. Thank you again for your support, sharing your stories and your willingness to help Kajmere make a change in her community that will hopefully continue to grow nationally.

      -Julie Smith

    7. WA State Board of Education to Hold a Hearing

      WOW, what an adventure this has been! We are one very close step to a victory!

      We received word that the Washignton State Board of education will be holding a meeting in Yakima, WA on September 11th and they will be discussing our anti bullying petition!

      Kajmere spoke to Executive Ben Raricks assistant and she informed us that they had received our phone calls, emails and that the meeting in Yakima would cover this petition! We are so excited and plan on attending the meeting. We would love to have anyone interested in joining attend the meeting.

      What a great moment to actually be heard. As Kajmeres mother, I am proud to have been able to help her along with this and I am proud that she has been diligent in her efforts to make sure her voice was heard. Never a bystander! Thank you all for your support. Keep posting on yout FB timelines and share!

      Julie Smith and Kajmere Houchins

    8. Reached 3,000 signatures
    9. Invitation to Speak During Anti Bullying Presentation @ School

      Our petition is making major progress. Last week we took the time to resend emails to several people at the Washington State Board of Education and OSPI. We would like to keep pressure on the people at the top, the decision makers, the money keepers, the people with the ability to influence. We reached out via Facebook to the Federal Way School District, and they responded with words of support and plans to get in touch with Kajmere about her petition and her vision.

      Today we went to Illahee Jr. High 8th grade scheduled pick up. Kajmere was approached y both her Vice Principle and school Counselor and she was invited to present to the student body during 2 days of anti-bullying curriculum and presentations!

      We have made huge progress and as Kajmeres mother, I am extremely supportive and excited for her. Thank you for your continued support. Please pass on the petition to your family and friends. We need more signatures!

      Thanks, Again

    10. Reached 2,500 signatures
    11. Media Reach Out

      We are moving fast! Today we reached out to the Federal Way Mirror, a local newspaper where Kajmere goes to school. We also reached out to Komo 4 news as Kajmere was featured in a news story a few years back and we are hoping that might give her a leg up on getting some attention.

      Last week Kajmere sent an email to Jerry Warren the Principle of Illahee Middle School and invited him to be the first to take her idea or bringing students into the conversations surrounding bullying in an attempt to open a dialogue and support students from a youth centered perspective and he emailed her back stating that he was looking forward to putting something together come the new school year!

      We hope that reaching out to the media will help Kajmeres initiative become reality! Keep your eyes open and check your inbox!

      -Julie

    12. Reached 1,500 signatures
    13. Were Gonna Shout, Shout, Shout!

      When you guys come out and support, you really show up & show out! Again, we want to say thank you!. Last night when I sent out the previous update, Kajmere had no idea of the progress on her petition and when she got home she was screaming with joy! What a vision for a mother to see. Joy from a teenager of all people that she was making having an impact an getting the support she need to make change in school.

      Kajmeres story of survival of cancer as stated in the petition is just the tip of the iceberg in Kajmeres brushes with death and her impassioned plea for help with making change has been simplified to its core for the sake of readers and written page. I cannot tell you how much time and energy Kajmere has devoted to seeing the lives of her friends impacted for the good She sees people as basically good and she wants all of them to have an opportunity to walk the streets, the halls, into a store, sit in a group & feel worthy. Again many thanks. Keep it up!

    14. Reached 750 signatures
    15. OMG! Nearing 300 and Were Going Strong

      As newbies to Change.org, we didn't realize that once you hit your initial goal that they increased your goal automatically. So at first we were elated, then disappointed that we had more signatures to get and then WOWED beyond belief at how many of you have shared, and re-posted via social media and helped us reach a goal even higher than the one last set! We thank you immensely for your support.

      Kids and teens deserve a voice in schools in a setting in which they will be heard and they deserve to have the opportunity to come together in a place where they can support one another and develop groups to bring about change in their schools in whatever capacity they and their leaders see fit for the needs of the students and the school. We are so excited to have the support of people all over Washington State. Don't stop know, we have voices to raise, perspectives to change and lives to save!

      Kajmere knew she could do this but she wasn't sure if you would. So Thanks.

      Change.org - Start, Join, and Win Campaigns for Change

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    16. Reached 250 signatures
    17. Making Headway

      Thank you to all who have signed so far. It is very important that we keep the momentum going. If you have teenagers who this issue affects please allow them to sign this petition. It will make a huge difference if they participate in the process. Remember we are strong, we are leaders and we want to be part of the conversation! Thank yo again for your support!

      Kajmere Houchins
      - The Power Cave

    18. Reached 10 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Aloha Tuialuuluu TACOMA, WA
      • 9 months ago

      I have children in the Federal Way dist. and I don't want my kids or any kids to have to go through this. I want to help make a change!!!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Glenna Nenedjian FEDERAL WAY, WA
      • 9 months ago

      No one should EVER be bullied,we as a society need to accept each and everyone as we are..human.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Kacy Vannocker FEDERAL WAY, WA
      • 9 months ago

      My little girl is a victim of bullying...off and on for 2 years. She is tough but handling it well all things considering. Thanks you for standing up for this! Mean allot!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Makenna Jester PUYALLUP, WA
      • 9 months ago

      Bullying is still a huge problem and it needs to be stopped.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Amber Bay EVERETT, WA
      • 9 months ago

      I have children, I have experienced bullying, and we need to include children to be a part of the conversation when we are making laws that affect their daily lives.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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