Cleveland Radio Station Creates Bully-Free Air Zone
The recent wave of bullying and subsequent teen suicide is a horrific problem that has hit the city of Cleveland particularly hard. Since 2006, four students from the city's Mentor High School have taken their own lives, and a local hip-hop station is making good with a novel attempt at changing the conversation towards constructive positivity. Z107.9 hosted the first, in what it hopes will become a national, 'Bully-Free Air Zone' -- a two-hour show that focused on teen bullying, violence and its drastic effect on victims.
"Whether it be cyber-bullying or physical or verbal, it's wrong and we just got to put an end to it," said station DJ Latin Assassin. "It's an issue that a lot of times gets swept under the rug. A lot of parents and children don't take it serious."
The program was guest hosted by child psychologist Dr. Art LaPlace. He pointed out that nearly one in six school-age children are bullied on a regular basis and feel trapped by their predicament. Many victims of bullying feel ashamed and unable to even talk to parents about what's going on in their daily lives.
It's an uncommon and consciously proactive gesture for a commercial station to take a break from spinning Drake and Lil Wayne tunes to give children a forum to openly vent their frustrations in a public setting. Aside from the panel discussion with the hip-hop hosts, parents and teens, the show allowed kids to call-in and report bullying directly on the air. Reportedly, the program was such a success that other stations may soon follow suit across the nation.
Bullying has become a particularly big issue in the hip-hop community recently with artists such as Nicki Minaj speaking out about the issues that teen are facing.