Special to the Times-Record
Bismarck’s Dakota Wizards basketball team, a developmental league team for the Golden State Warriors, has taken on a new opponent, bullying.
Earlier this month, the Wizards invited Griggs County Central students to their final home game to assist in their game plan to send out the message “stop bullying now.”
At the game, students took a pledge to treat people fairly, be inclusive and take action when bullying is happening to others. Additionally, the team highlighted a new North Dakota’s new anti-bullying law, “Cassidy’s Law”, which goes in effect this July.
In November 2010, GCC lost student Cassidy Joy Andel to a suicide that was blamed, in part, to bullying. The tragedy sparked the beginning of “Cassidy’s Law”, which will attach consequences to those who participate in the bullying of others.
The school’s response to the loss was to begin a determined fight against bullying.
Members of GCC’s leadership team, the school’s Students Against Destructive Decisions chapter and other students jumped at the invitation to publicly tell Cassidy’s story and pledge to put an end to bullying.
At the start of the Wizard’s game attending GCC students were invited onto the court, alongside players and coaches. Together they led the crowd in an anti-bullying pledge.
At halftime of the game the GCC students again took to the court where GCC student Shelby Jacobson spoke on how bullying affected our community and how it has become a nationwide problem.
“This pledge was a great gesture for our society,” Jacobson said. “Bullying is a problem everywhere and we need to stop it.”
After Jacobson’s speech North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem thanked the GCC students, spoke about “Cassidy’s Law” and how efforts are being made at the state level to stop this crime to society.
After halftime the GCC students and Wizard fans were able to sit back and enjoy the game. The Wizards pulled off a massive comeback and were on top when the final horn sounded.
Shaylee Andel, Cassidy’s sister, was pleased with the event.
“It is nice [bullying] is being recognized and more people are aware of it,” she said. “Hopefully people will now become more involved.”
T.J. Carlson also enjoyed the event.
“I thought it was really inspiring to se everyone come together for such a good cause,” he said.
The Dakota Wizards are now working with the Golden State Warriors to show a video of the pledge at their games and at games across the NBA.
The students hope their actions eventually help pave the way for the end of bullying and GCC principal Travis Jordan was proud of his students for their action.
“I’m very proud of our students,” Jordan said. “They have taken the courage to stand up for what is right, and hopefully will not just say the pledge, but rather act and live it.”