FORT BLISS — “In my generation, a rumor was horrible,” said Meme Styles, executive assistant to the commander of Integrated Test and Evaluation Directorate, subordinate command of Fort Hood’s U.S. Army Operational Test Command. “But it could only go as far as the schoolyard; today a rumor can reach the other side of the world at just the click of a button.”
Cyber-bullying is the number one issue plaguing kids today, Styles said her teenage daughter and two of her friends confided to her. That’s all it took to propel Styles into action, and the “Cyber-bullying? Nobody’s got time for that!” anti-cyber-bullying campaign was born.
“These kids live in a cyber world that many parents are clueless about,” Styles said. “Luckily, I’m nosy enough to ask the hard questions and get honest answers.”
Recruiting some of her colleagues to work with the El Paso Independent School District’s H.E. Charles Middle School students, Styles and her committee have generated an anti-cyber-bullying campaign that will be used by both Fort Bliss school liaison officers and the middle school to educate parents, students and faculty.
In addition to Styles, volunteers who produced the video and posters included OTC’s Fires Test Directorate’s Capt. Andrew Rieck and ITED soldiers Staff Sgt. Matthew Bates, Staff Sgt. Robert Hazell and Sgt. 1st Class Brandon Sanders; Department of the Army Civilian employees Cheryl Seymour and Dennis McElveen; H.E. Charles MS students; University of Texas at El Paso athletes; and El Paso Mayor John Cook.
Carlos Martinez, the school district’s Partners in Education director, said the district is always supportive of ideas that spring from the partnership, a joint project that helps foster excellence in education and support local schools’ Campus Improvement Plans. ITED and H.E. Charles MS have been partners since September 2012, with ITED employees volunteering at the school as mentors, tutors, science fair judges and role models, Styles said.
“There is no separation between El Paso and Fort Bliss,” Martinez said. “There are five EPISD campuses on Fort Bliss — four elementary schools and one high school. Out of the 63,000 EPISD students, 6,000 are military.
“The anti-cyber-bullying campaign is a combined effort between the military and civilian communities that demonstrates how close we are,” he said.
Deborah Trexler, Fort Bliss school liaison officer, has collaborated with other post liaison officers on an implementation plan.
“We will use the video for the Partners in Education Kickoff event in September as well as during the professional development training in August,” she said.
“We have provided copies to the EPISD governmental relations director, and we plan to provide the Socorro Independent School District school transition counselor a copy to use on their website as they deem appropriate,” Trexler said. “We will also provide a copy to the military family life consultants to use during parental and student group lessons.”
Trexler said they will make the video available to other school groups to use in their anti-cyber-bullying campaigns. “I will also provide a copy to our garrison staff with a recommendation that it be forwarded to the Army’s Installation Management Command as a best practice in Partners in Education,” she said.
Styles said ITED employees are proud to support the school’s teachers, clubs and administration. In addition to the anti-cyber-bullying campaign, she said Hazell started a student chess club. “We look forward to expanding and strengthening our partnership with H.E. Charles Middle School,” she said.