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The battle against bullying

“There are more ways to bully these days: it can come from online, and via social media.” 

Michelynn Woodard is vice prexy of philanthropy for JCPenney. She joined the company in April after 15 years in corporate philanthropy, including work for West Brands, where she ran Kanye West’s parent company, and as program director for the CAA Foundation. Woodard began her career in corporate development at PBS and director of network distribution for Fox Broadcasting Co.

School should not be a place to fear. As we’ve seen, children are being attacked from the outside, with people entering schoolgrounds, but there is also danger within.

According to the Do Something organization, 90% of students in grades four through eight are victims of bullying, with 56% of that coming at school. And one out of 10 students eventually drop out of school because of bullying.

The numbers are shocking. It’s partly because more acts are being reported, but also because there is more bullying. There are more ways to bully these days: Aside from physical and verbal abuse, it can come from online, and via social media. It can become all-consuming.

Whenever a customer buys something at JCPenney and sees the amount due, they can round it up to the nearest dollar and we give that amount to charity; we change our national partners each month.

During March, we are partnering with Crisis Text Line. It’s the first hotline for teens that’s about texting, since that’s how they communicate. It will be a national 24/7 hotline manned by licensed counselors.

Crisistextline.org will launch March 1, helping to kick off support by JCPenney. With our JCP Cares program, customers have rounded up their store purchases to the nearest dollar to help us raise over $10 million for the the program. One goal of the Crisis Text Line is to keep kids in school, and to protect kids, who are getting really hurt by bullying. We don’t want to just use this partnership for one month, but instead to create something long-lasting. We want to create communities of learning.

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