A middle schooler at Nellie Coffman is taking a stand against bullying because she says her school isn’t doing enough. Thirteen-year-old Mia Velarde is passionate about helping others find their voice and stand up against bullying. She and her mom have been trying to get the school to take action, but they aren’t satisfied with what’s being done. So, Mia decided to take things into her own hands.
“They said that they were going to break my leg with my crutches and beat me with them."
She was cyber-bullied, verbally harassed and taunted at school, but this didn’t stop Mia from speaking out; something that an average middle schooler might think twice to do, but not Mia.
"I just kept my head down for a while until other people started noticing these things and telling them they were doing things to me and then I started speaking out even more.”
Mia went to the school first to see if they could put an end to the bullying.
“I want them to take more steps because obviously the contract hasn’t worked.”
These were contracts that each bully signed agreeing to stay away from Mia, but she says bullies always find a way.
“They cyber-bullied me the day after they signed it.”
Then Mia quickly realized that although she can’t control what the administration does to solve the problem, she can still make a positive change…
“i’m an advocate for boo 2 bullying.”
An organization that, Founder and President Dimitri Halkidis, encourages kids to stand up and speak up when they are being bullied.
“The bully always picks someone who is weaker and someone that they can control. And I think when you show the person you cannot be controlled or hushed up or they can tell you what to do, that’s when they start thinking differently.”
All Mia really wants, is to be able to go to school and not have to look over her shoulder.
“We are at an age where we shouldn’t have to deal with that. We should be going to school, making friends, but furthering our education and making sure that we have an education for the rest of our lives…”
We reached out to the Palm Springs Unified School District to clarify what steps are taken to address bullying on campus, and they said both students and parents can file a complaint through the school and, if bullying continues, students can be suspended or expelled.