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The Dansville Online
  • Miss New York visits Dansville

  • Miss New York Kaitlin Monte visited Dansville School District Monday where she met with student council members, toured a few classrooms and then took the microphone for an assembly where she spoke candidly about her brother and sister’s bullying experiences as well as her own, and encouraged students to not engage in bullying behavior.

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  • Bullying, it can happen to anyone; even to a  young lady who was smart enough to start college at age 16, graduate college at age 19, earned the Miss New York 2011 crown and was second-runner up for Miss America.
    Miss New York Kaitlin Monte visited Dansville School District Monday where she met with student council members, toured a few classrooms and then took the microphone for an assembly where she spoke candidly about her brother and sister’s bullying experiences as well as her own, and encouraged students to not engage in bullying behavior.
    “There’s no such thing as a bully ... there’s bullying. It’s a behavior, and therefore it’s a choice,” she said.
    She encouraged students to go from being a bully to making the choice of being a positive leader. That choice includes leading against bullying.
    Monte has done that herself by not only speaking to students, but also by petitioning against cyberbullying, which led her to becoming a consultant on a cyberbullying law for New York state.
    The law included 10,000 entries from an online survey in which students across the state spoke about what cyberbullying is and what the law should entail.
    “You wrote it; we wrote this law,” she said, adding that her generation is the first to face cyberbullying and that many parents and lawmakers don’t fully understand what it is.
    “We are the leaders of this. It’s up to us to fix it.”
    She said that students need not be afraid to stand up.
    “I don’t believe in confidence,” she said. “I believe in being bold.”
    Once a bystander sees a problem, it’s their responsibility to be bold and find a way to stand up against it.
    “It’s a lot of responsibility, but at the same time it’s what we have to do. We are fighting a war on this. We’re fighting a war. It takes an army to fight a war, we are all soldiers ... you’ve got to decide which side you’re on.”
    In addition to Dansville, Monte took her message to other area schools this week — Gananda, West Valley, Brockport, Allegany and to her hometown of Pittsford.
    Monte will be turning the crown over to a new Miss New York in June. Afterward, she plans to further her education and continue to work for her non-profit organization, Project Empower.
    For her presentation, Monte wore a t-shirt designed by Cheyenne Markowski, as part of the district's anti-bullying campaign.

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