Charlotte students examine youth violence in local ‘Do the Write Thing’ contest

Two Charlotte middle schoolers are headed to Washington, D.C., next month after writing about youth violence for Mecklenburg’s County “Do the Write Thing” writing competition.

It’s an annual contest that asks middle schoolers to write about how youth violence has affected their lives and what they can do to stop it.

In her winning essay, 12-year-old Qui’arie Randall of Northeast Middle School wrote about getting bullied as a new student.

“There was these people who really didn’t know me, but they started to judge me and talk about what I wear and just being rude people,” she told WFAE.

She wrote in her essay that the bullying “caused me distress, and to take my fits of anger out on the people I loved.”

She said she also took her hurt out on another student, before talking with her aunt and a therapist who explained that bullying is often more about the bully than the person getting picked on.

“‘Cause they feel like if they bully somebody else, it’s just gonna make them feel better because they went through the same thing that they’re doing to the other person,” she said.

Meanwhile, 13-year-old Justice Fields of Whitewater Middle School wrote an essay remembering a cheerleader from his previous school in Mount Vernon, New York, who was killed in a fight.

“After Kayla’s death, the football and cheer practices were canceled. Many parents were concerned about the well being of their children. Some of the cheerleaders had to isolate themselves because they were receiving death threats and fear of not being safe,” he wrote.

He also wrote about how he thinks the killing could have been avoided.

“How it was adults at the scene there that could have helped and prevented it, but instead of doing that they watched,” he said.

Both students said social media is playing a major role in bullying and youth violence, and that kids and adults should work together to stop situations from getting out of hand — such as online comments turning into a fight, stabbing or shooting.

Qui’arie’s aunt, Mary Ayler, said kids also have to believe in their own self-worth.

“Like, at the end of the day, you are Qui’arie — and nobody can change that. You are beautiful, and don’t let anybody tell you different,” Ayler said.

The two students will represent Mecklenburg County at the National Campaign to Stop Violence Recognition Week in July.

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