(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has joined with the Do the Write Thing Challenge to encourage young people – in their own words – to discuss instances of violence they experienced and share their ideas of how to reduce violence in their community.
This first-ever partnership in Ohio will feature middle school students from Springfield City School District in Clark County who will write about the effects of violence, including bullying, on their lives.
“Children are our future leaders, and I am proud of these students for standing up to violence by discussing the impact it has had on their lives,” Yost said. “Their stories of bravery will help others stand up to violence and make the world a better, more peaceful place.”
Studies recently released this year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the suicide rate has tripled among 10-14-year-old children. An unrelated U.S. Department of Justice study found that 60 percent of youth are directly or indirectly exposed to violence. The study found that those exposures cause long-term physical and mental harm and increase the likelihood they would continue the cycle of violence.
The Do the Write Thing Challenge asks students to express in stories, poems and/or songs and any other written forms the violence they’ve faced, with an emphasis on exploring these key questions:
- How violence affects their daily lives?
- What are some of the causes of youth violence in their community?
- What can you as an individual do to reduce youth violence in your community?
Dr. Bob Hill, superintendent of the Springfield school district, has encouraged the district’s middle-schoolers to be changemakers, telling them that, if they write, others will listen.
“A special thank you to Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, for recognizing the need for this program, and allowing our District to be the first in Ohio to participate,” Hill said. “Springfield students are aware, resilient and thoughtful. The Do the Write Thing program will allow them to capture their own stories, and provide a pathway to make sure their voices are heard.”
Do the Write Thing is organized by U.S. National Campaign to Stop Youth Violence and has been in existence for 25 years. It operates programs in 26 cities in 13 states. Over the last 25 years, 1.2 million middle school students have participated in the program.
“By participating in this program, students are taking a stand against violence,” Yost said. “Their words are powerful, and I cannot wait to read and learn from their stories.”