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Students take on bullying - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Students take on bullying

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MONTPELIER, Vt. -

More than 400 students gathered in Montpelier Thursday, all hoping they can make a difference to end bullying. Inspiring them to change the culture was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement.

With music pumping up the crowd, hundreds of teenagers packed a Montpelier hotel ballroom, all there to take charge and tackle a serious issue facing society -- bullying.

"We are all aware of bullying and harassment, it's a huge issue in our schools and our society amongst adults. We have not done a very good job of it as adults," said Vermont Education Secretary Armando Vilaseca. But Vilaseca challenged the teens to change the game.

Nate Chambers from Orleans is ready. The 8th grader says he knows what it's like to be harassed and bullied.  "My advice is not to ignore it -- tell someone as soon as possible," he said.

Listening to teens was just part of this youth conference hosted by educators and The Anti-Defamation League. Attendees also heard from a super star in the Civil Rights Movement -- Ernie Green. "Today I am here to challenge you to awaken the leader within yourself," Green told the crowd.

As a student, Green was one of nine teenagers in Little Rock, Arkansas who led the charge to strike down racial segregation in public schools. Facing death threats while going to school, Green played a pivotal role in granting all Americans access to education.  Now an investment banker in Washington, Green challenged these teens to be leaders, and warning them that it won't always be easy. "Do not settle on any one moment in life that is good enough -- it's never good enough.  Continue to evolve and expect more from yourself. Do not be afraid to succeed," he said.

A message from a man who's leadership at a young age made a difference and helped change a country.

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