LMJ lends star power to anti-bullying campaign

LMJ lends star power to anti-bullying campaign

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - An Oregon football star who played in the Super Bowl his first season in the NFL is lending his name to a new cause.

And he hopes kids in Eugene-Springfield middle schools will listen up.

LaMichael James is the face of a new anti-bullying campaign called "Change the Trend: Help Defend."

The campaign against bullying and cyberbullying is a project of some public relations students at the University of Oregon.

"It still exists on the playgrounds at school," said Robbie Parness, one of the students, "but it's moving away from the playgrounds and it's getting worse away from the playgrounds with this whole cyber age that we're entering."

Enter the promotional video for the campaign.

"If you or someone you know has ever been affected by bullying, join the movement," James says in the video.

The team will be at Agness Stewart Middle School on Wednesday to work with kids on how messages can hurt people; the right way to intervene; and Facebook etiquette.

Eigth-grader Alicia Skinner said that last point is a real issue at her school.  "Anything you post on Facebook is going to be taken incorrectly. Somebody is going to be like, 'oh, can you say that about me,' whatever," she said.

The program has 3 major steps to prevent bullying: identify, intervene and report.  

"We just kind of want to change the thought process of OK, I'm being picked on, so it must be me," said Courtney Ramirez. "No, it's not you."

Students will also sign an anti-bullying code of ethics, like a poster put up Monday at the Eugene YMCA.

"I think that the workshop that this group of students is doing is going to definitely empower kids, so that they are going to stop it when it happens to them," says Holly Kriz-Anderson of the Y's child services department.   

The project also hits close to home for another Agnes Stewart Middle School 8th grader. Kenneth Brawn said he was a bullier until he became a victim himself, and became depressed.  "When you get depressed, you just, you don't want to do anything," he said. "You just want to stay at home, go to sleep."

The campaign aims to help schools end the cycle.

"If all of us make a small change," James says in the video, "together we can make a real difference."

Watch the video with LaMichael James