As homecoming queen at Hewlett High School, Jennie Shapira wouldn't seem a likely target for bullies. Yet, the 12th-grader harbors painful memories of hazing in sixth and seventh grades.
So revenge is sweet. Wednesday, Shapira won a $1,000 Intel semifinalist prize with a research paper entitled, "The Cost of Silence: A Study Examining the 'Telling' Behavior of Victims of Bullying."
Shapira surveyed 181 high school students about their experiences with bullying. She found younger students were more likely than older ones to report harassment to school authorities, due to advice received through new anti-bullying programs.
The 17-year-old concludes that such instruction is vital, not only for curbing bullies but also for promoting academic achievement. "You can't learn anything if you're constantly stressed about a bully following you around," she said.