Character Matters: Stand Up, Speak Out and Stop Bullying Campaign Launches

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI), in partnership with Capitol Broadcasting (WRAL/FOX 50), today launched the Character Matters Anti-Bullying Campaign. The goal of this campaign is to bring awareness to the issue of bullying and what schools and communities are doing to stop it.

The National School Safety Center (NSSC) called bullying the most enduring and underrated problem in U.S. schools. According to the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), 20 percent of students in grades 9–12 experienced bullying. The 2008–09 School Crime Supplement (National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics) indicates that 28 percent of students in grades 6–12 experienced bullying.

“The entire Character Matters initiative is focused on building ethical leadership among young people and helping to shape the culture in our schools and communities where students and adults feel safe and respected,” said State Superintendent June Atkinson. “The climate has to be such that there is a zero tolerance for bullying and any behavior that detracts from students’ social, emotional and academic well-being.”

A major component to bully prevention is recognizing it when it happens. Bullying occurs when there is unwanted, aggressive and potentially harmful behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. Both children who are bullied as well as those who bully others are more likely to skip and/or drop out of school as well as suffer from underachievement. Witnessing the behavior also may affect a child, so it is important for children to learn what they should do when they see bullying happen.

The goal of the Character Matters Anti-Bullying Campaign is to encourage students to share the message that Character Matters and bullying is not acceptable in North Carolina schools and communities.

“Creating safer schools involves educating and informing students, parents and the community about the importance of anti-bullying efforts,” said WRAL-TV Vice President and General Manager Steven D. Hammel. “I’m very pleased to use our station resources to partner with the NCDPI on this important campaign.”

A locally produced half-hour anti-bullying special will air Wednesday, March 26, from 7-7:30 p.m., on WRAL-TV and from 7:30-8 p.m. on FOX 50 WRAZ-TV. The special will take an in-depth look at bullying, hear from students who were bullied, and highlight what the schools and the community are doing about it. A series of vignettes, featuring local students, also will air on WRAL-TV and FOX 50 WRAZ-TV over the next few months.

“This is a very serious issue that is on a marked rise in our schools and via social media. If we can help empower our youth to speak up, use TV and our other digital platforms to say it is OK to talk, and provide families in our local communities with proven tools to aid in bully prevention, we can do a lot to start turning this problem around,” said Vice President & General Manager of FOX 50 WRAZ TV Tommy Schenck.

For more information visit the Character Matters website at

Capitol Broadcasting Company, Inc. is a diversified communications company which owns and/or operates WRAL-TV, WRAL Digital, WRAZ-TV, WRAZ Digital, WRAL-FM, WRAL-HD2, WCMC-FM, WCMC-HD1, WDNC-AM, WCMC-HD2, WCMC-HD3, WCLY-AM, WCMC-HD4, Microspace, CBC New Media Group and Wolfpack Sports Properties (a joint venture with Learfield Sports) in Raleigh, NC; WILM-TV and Sunrise Broadcasting in Wilmington, NC; The Durham Bulls Baseball Club in Durham, NC; and real estate interests including the American Tobacco Project and Diamond View office buildings in Durham, NC.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 107 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state’s public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.