Generation Next: Local students work to end bullying in politics

SEATTLE, Wash. — A group of middle school students in Seattle are grabbing the attention of congress. They are urging politicians across the country to stop bullying.

“At a certain point during the 2016 election we realized just watching debates there wasn’t civil discourse and that really upset us and after the election we were like ‘we have to take action’ cuz this is happening on different levels and we have the power to do something about it,” said seventh grader Claire.

Claire, among some of the other students involved, said they were victims of bullying themselves at one point. That was part of their motivation to join other students in making the government a bully free place.

“It’s taking away the issues at heart and it’s making people feel bad when what really needs to be happening is we need to be making progress as a country,” said seventh grader Julia.

The group, known as the DC Bully Busters, asks politicians to sign a pledge promising they won’t engage in bullying and will speak up if they witness it.

“Name calling is the biggest one for me. Especially as a girl it’s hard to watch people who are calling people names for unnecessary reasons,” said Julia.

The group writes letters to people in power. They have written 1,200 so far. They also send videos sharing their message. But they didn’t stop there. They took their message across to country, to Washington, D.C.

“We had the privilege of meeting Nancy Pelosi and she said some very inspiring words to us about continuing our work and how to be successful in work like this and that’s really encouraged us to keep going,” said Claire.

The group delivered results while in D.C. They were able to get 38 members of congress to sign their anti-bullying pledge.

“If we’re going to be at each other’s necks that’s not a good thing. But if we’re focusing on making the world a better place and being nice to each other I think that’s OK,” said Julia.

The DC Bully Busters in Seattle already have more than a dozen kids involved and they are hoping to bring on even more young recruits.

“I really want to engage other kids because I want them to feel like they have a voice too because I feel like I’m gaining a voice with the Bully Busters,” said seventh grader Sayre.

The DC Bully Busters are already preparing for the midterm elections, pushing candidates to stay away from bullying. They are seeking solutions with local politics as well, asking people to attend town halls and ask their elected leaders to sign the pledge.

Only democrats have signed the pledge so far. The campaign coordinator of the DC Bully Busters said the team reached out to both parties, including Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell but only democrats were willing to sign.

Click here to get involved and learn more about the DC Bully Busters.