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M-E High School Students Learn how to Combat Cyberbullying

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Siena college students teamed up with Maine-Endwell student to address the growing problem of cyberbullying. 

One in four students in New York have been cyberbullied, according to a recent Siena College/At&T survey. Even more in Central New York, where 31 percent reported to be victims.

To deal with the problem, telecom giant AT&T is trying something new: Bringing college students, including victims of cyberbullying, to teach students ways to stop it. 

Funded in part by the Tyler Clementi Foundation, students including 20 at Maine-Endwell High School learned how to stop bullying of all types and how to report it. The biggest message: not to be a bystander and allow it to continue. Their goal is to show kids how to be "Upstanders."

Public Affairs Director for AT&T, Benjamin Roberts, says high schoolers are more likely to open up to college students, rather than adults. 

"Schools were telling us that adults were not relatable. They couldn't go up and talk to the students because they didn't grow up in the digital age. So we found students that were very close in age, newly removed from their high school experience, who have a very similar life experience, and have conversations about experiences they both have had. That's what makes this program so much more meaningful," Benjamin Roberts, Public Affairs Director AT&T.

Emily Murphy, a junior at Siena, said peers who have been victimized are more likely to suffer from anxiety, depression and even suicide.

"One of our peers, Mark, has a friend that committed suicide as a result of bullying, and I've experienced it myself," said Murphy. "I'm more mature now, so I can look back at it and realize it didn't define me as a person. We really want to be able to tell high school students that." 

Murphy and other students taught ways M-E can raise awareness, set examples of Upstander behavior and asked participants to take a pledge to help end cyberbullying for once. 

AT&T has made the resources available to parents and student at the website DigitalYou.