Lindsay Belli, Kristi Hopper and Matthew Harbron, all teachers at Abbott Middle School, Lauren Piontkowski, a teacher at Scotch Elementary, and Nathan Belil, a teacher at West Bloomfield High School donned "Defeat the Label" t-shirts for the event. They were accompanied by parent Heath Little and former television personality Lila Lazarus.
The group's common goal: to draw attention to the issue of bullying.
"Students that are bullied lose any sense of a safe environment; once that foundation is undermined or removed, bullied students dread the school experience because they are afraid of being verbally or physically attacked," Belil said. "Students that have this feeling of fear, of being on edge, stop speaking up in class for fear of being ridiculed. They may avoid joining teams or clubs, develop low self-esteem, and ultimately, not reach the heights they would have had they not been bullied.”
Hopper said that as a special education teacher, she knows people put labels on her students because of their disabilities.
"Defeat the Label is such a powerful organization, because we all have labels," she said. "We are not our label."
In addition to training all year for the run, the five teachers have committed to fundraising for Defeat the Label during the last year. All funds will go towards Defeat the Label's anti-bullying curriculum, school programming and creation of the anonymous Bully Shout bully reporting app for students.
To support their efforts, visit http://www.crowdrise.com/DefeattheLabelNYC2013.
And just in case you're wondering, here are their finish times:
- Little - 03:27:01
- Belil - 03:42:06
- Piontkowski - 04:00:54
- Hopper - 04:42:49
- Harbron - 04:42:49
- Lazarus - 05:33:10
- Belli - 05:33:13