Heroes Against Bullies: Julie Hertzog
Now, more than ever, we need teachers, parents, kids and advocates who will stand against bullying behavior and work to eliminate its catastrophic impact on schools, families and communities.
The year 2014 was filled with heartbreaking stories about students driven to suicide after being bullied and taunted. Some victims, such as 11-year-old Michael Morones-Suttle, would survive their suicide attempts only to live in a vegetative state.
Other bullying victims, such as 12-year-old Ashley Cardona, would succeed leaving their families devastated and wondering what could have been done.
In this space, anti-bullying advocates are building coalitions across the country to protect as many students from bullying as possible.
Meet Julie Hertzog
One such advocate is Julie Hertzog, a nationally renowned bullying prevention and the director of PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center.
In 2000, Hertzog joined the PACER Center, a Minnesota-based organization that serves the needs of children with disabilities and their families. Hertzog became involved with bullying prevention activities and in 2006, she helped create the PACER Center’s new National Bullying Prevention Center.
She then began to create and implement anti-bullying initiatives, including the annual PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Month, Unity Day and much more. Hertzog was inspired to take a lead on bullying prevention models and curriculum because of her fear that her disabled son, David, would be subject to bullying.
As a bullying prevention education specialist, Hertzog creates innovative resources for communities and schools to address bullying behavior. The models and curricula are multifaceted and empower students to take ownership of their schools and their peer groups.
The organization has had a wonderful track record engaging school administrators, teachers, parents and students with the single goal of eliminating bullying behavior.
Web-Based & School-Based Anti-Bullying Initiatives
Hertzog has spearheaded countless unique and groundbreaking bullying prevention education models that help students take the lead to end bullying in their schools.
For example, the WE WILL Generation anti-bullying model trains students to become more than mere bystanders when they witness bullying. Students are trained to safely and effectively intervene in bullying situations.
Studies demonstrate that peer interventions end bullying behavior 60 percent of the time. Through the WE WILL Generation initiative, students in schools across America are being taught to identify bullying activity, to speak out when they witness it, and to intervene when they can.
Interactive and youth-friendly sites sponsored by the National Bullying Prevention Center directly provide anti-bullying resources to kids as young as eight.
The sites provide forums, training, questionnaires and age-appropriate guides that train students to understand what constitutes bullying behavior and what they can do to protect themselves and others when it does occur.
Personal Bullying Experience
Hertzog is more than just a professional anti-bullying advocate working on behalf of children across America. She is also the mother of child with Down syndrome. She knows firsthand the potential risks faced by parents who fear for their children’s safety.
In an illuminating and powerful story about how to proactively address bullying before it happens, Hertzog shared her family’s personal journey with a special needs child in a CNN stop bullying report.
“I feared that David could become a poster child for children expected to be the targets of bullying,” she shared. Hertzog built relationships with everyone who would come into contact with her son and explained her son’s condition to his classmates.
Many years later, David, her son, attends school free of bullying violence in a supportive and warm environment where his peers monitor one another to ensure that no one hurts David or anyone else, for that matter.
Hertzog and her son David are a source of inspiration for families and parents who wish to create healthy education communities for students who may be different.
A True Bullying Hero
What is remarkable about successful anti-bullying efforts such as Hertzogs’, is that they demonstrate that children can be incredibly thoughtful, kind and helpful to one another under the proper guidance.
The lesson is that when adults step in early and often and guide students, we can create bully free education environments.
From the anti-bullying legal professionals at Inkelaar Law, we commend Hertzog on her contributions to bullying prevention activities across America. We consider her to be a true hero against Bullying.
There are bullying advocates like Julie all across America who are doing important work. If you know someone who is passionate about bullying and you would like to profile them as a Hero Against Bullies, contact us on social media.
You may use:
Help us give the hidden heros in your community the recognition that they deserve. Nominate today.