ELMSFORD, N.Y. - Elmsford Mayor Robert Williams and first-year School District Superintendent Dr. Joseph Ricca joined Principal Sr. Mary Stephen of Our Lady of Mount Carmel School in launching National Anti-Bullying Month with a collaborative announced at a joint meeting Wednesday at Village Hall.
Williams, Ricca and Sr. Mary Stephen unveiled the effort and an anti-bullying poster that came as a result of talks over the Labor Day weekend when the trio of leaders decided to tackle the issue head on as a community.
"The work we're talking about here with our students in our schools is probably the most significant work we can do for the entire community," said Ricca, who was on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's Any-Bullying task force before coming to Elmsford this year. "If we don't make sure that our children are safe and secure at all times we can not achieve the level of success we want for out children."
Williams said the posters and fliers would be distributed in the schools and to local businesses to be displayed in storefront windows, offices and other public areas.
Ricca quoted statistics that show the degree of bullying in the nation and its effect on children and teens. He said 47 teens experience bullying every five minutes nationwide and children are often afraid to go to school or even to use school rest rooms.
"I'm absolutely thrilled that the administrative team, faculty and staff, board of education, village leadership and entire community have said bullying is unacceptable here and are working with us," Ricca said.
County Legislator Alfreda Williams, State Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti and representatives of Westchester District Attorney Janet DiFiore, State Senator Andrea Stewart Cousins and Congresswomen Nita Lowey were in attendance to lend their support to the village-wide campaign.