You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

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.

Popular on Variety

More Voices

  • Margot Robbie, Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron.

    Charlize Theron Could Win Second Oscar for Playing Megyn Kelly in 'Bombshell'

    Charlize Theron walked on stage before a screening of “Bombshell” at West Hollywood’s Pacific Design Center on Sunday night and announced to the crowd, “I’m about to s— myself.” The Oscar winner had good reason to be nervous. The screening of the Jay Roach-directed drama about the fall of Fox News boss Roger Ailes was [...]

  • Tom Hanks Mr Rogers A BEAUTIFUL

    Tom Hanks' Portrayal of Mister Rogers May Put Him Back in Oscar's 'Neighborhood'

    Sony recently hosted a SAG-AFTRA screening of “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” the Marielle Heller-directed drama starring Matthew Rhys as a magazine writer who befriends Fred Rogers, played by Tom Hanks. While the screening didn’t include a guild Q&A with cast or the film’s creative team, the audience was greeted with a video message from [...]

  • Joe Pesci, Al Pacino, Martin Scorsese,

    Martin Scorsese and 'The Irishman' Enter Oscar Race With World Premiere at NYFF

    Even with its three-hour run time and a short 28 days in theaters before it’s available on Netflix, Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” is likely to be a major contender at the Oscars. The 57th New York Film Festival opened on Friday night with the world premiere of the epic real-life mob drama. Scorsese and his [...]

  • Brad Pitt Once Upon a Time

    How Much Does Hitting the Awards Season Circuit Really Matter to Stars Like Brad Pitt?

    “Do you want an Oscar?” That’s the first question one top awards consultant asks any potential contender when they first start talking. Everyone is wondering how Brad Pitt would answer that question these days. He recently raised eyebrows and made headlines when he proclaimed that he would not be campaigning this awards season. “Oh, man. I’m [...]

  • Renee Zellweger'Judy' film premiere, Arrivals, Samuel

    'Judy's' L.A. Premiere: Renée Zellweger Takes Another Ruby Step Toward the Oscars

    Renée Zellweger continues to follow the yellow brick road to the Oscars. The Los Angeles premiere of Judy on Thursday night in Beverly Hills kept the Academy Award winner on track for a possible second win come February. “We’re just so happy we’re able to share it with you tonight,” Zellweger said to the crowd [...]

  • Barry Bill Hader

    Emmys 2019: Clear Favorites and Top Challengers for This Year's Winners (Column)

    If this felt like the longest, most expensive Emmy campaign in history, you might be right. For one thing, the 2019 Primetime Emmys will be held Sept. 22, which is the latest the ceremony has taken place since 2013. That also happened to be the last year of TV’s quaint, pre-streaming era, before outlets like [...]

  • Fleabag Succession Emmys

    Could 'Fleabag' and 'Succession' Be Spoilers on Emmy Night? (Column)

    At the onset, this year’s Emmy Awards felt a bit anticlimactic, as the final seasons of “Game of Thrones” and “Veep” appeared to have this year’s drama and comedy categories locked up before campaigning even began. But that’s how upsets happen: Just when we’re pretty confident about how things might go, a couple of wild [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content