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8th grader turns negative bullying experience into something positive

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8th grader turns negative bullying experience into something positive

Eighth grader Blake Coronado of Joshua Cowell School chats with some of his schoolmates at the beginning of an anti-bullying program featuring up-and-coming singer-songwriter Torrey Mercer.

ROSE ALBANO RISSO/The Bulletin


POSTED December 13, 2013 1:02 a.m.

The bullying started when Blake Coronado was in sixth grade. A shy kid by nature, he kept it all to himself because he didn’t want to bother his parents and did not want them to get worried.

But things came to a head one day. He finally got tired of being picked on when a girl at school hit him in the back in yet another unprovoked attack. This time, Blake turned around and hit the girl back in the stomach.

The incident was reported and both Blake and the girl were punished by suspension. This was a defining moment for Blake as well as his parents who agree that while their son was the one who was provoked in the attack, they believe that he should not have retaliated in the same manner.

His father sprang into action. He introduced his son to a performer named Torrey Mercer, an up-and-coming singer and song writer. Having been a victim of bullying while growing up, Mercer has chosen to be an anti-bullying advocate and even wrote and recorded an anti-bullying anthem.

Blake started communicating with Mercer via Twitter, until one day, Blake invited Mercer to bring her anti-bullying message to his school at Joshua Cowell. The performer agreed to make an appearance gratis, with the school’s Community Club footing her transportation bill. The singer came to Joshua Cowell this past summer. Blake had the special honor of introducing the performer to his schoolmates.

Mercer has had a big effect on Blake, according to his parents. The singer,  helped their son by “just encouraging him and telling him that she cares about him and that he’s important, and gave him some ideas on how to help him (cope with bullying) like trying to ignore (the bullies) and believing in himself.”

Blake’s father, Jim, also gives Principal Bonnie Bennett a lot of credit not only in the way she handled the unfortunate situation involving his son but in how the school is handling bullying issues on campus.

“Ever since Miss Bennett has been involved with him (Blake), he seems to have gotten a lot more friends at school because people know that he’s not going to run. He’s not a spoiled kid; he’s his own person. And it’s nice that he is setting a good example to his brother in first grade,” he said.

His wife wholeheartedly agrees with  his sentiments.

When it comes to being a victim of bullying, she said, “The biggest thing is not participating in it, standing up for what you know is right, and speaking up when something does happen – those are the big things. When you don’t speak up and you carry yourself in a certain way, when you walk around like the victim, people are going to target you.”

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