Student whistle-blowers shine spotlight on online abuse

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An autobiography, a series of illustrated prints and an empowering, step-by-step ebook. Ifeoma’s inspirational story gives birth to a national movement helping students understand and recognize their right to report cyberbullying and online abuse and to discover the courage to protect themselves by drawing a “Whistle”.

ifeoma bw, a 25-year-old mother of two, has dedicated her life to protecting children from bullying and online abuse. In 2015, at the age of 25, she launched, a grassroots education initiative to equip teachers, counselors, and parents with knowledge about child protection. Ifeoma travels to more than 20 school districts throughout the Midwest with her whistle-blowing whistle to illustrate the importance of digital justice for victims.

With her passion for digital justice, Ifeoma was one of the first women to become a Presidential Appointee to the United States Department of Education. Since assuming her position as one of the nation’s founding members of the Office of Safe and Healthy Schools, she has devoted the majority of her time to advocating for reform to stop the spread of cyberbullying on social media.

Grassroots educator

Through her public speaking engagements and her activism through, Ifeoma has had the opportunity to share her story to a national audience. The catalyst for the whistle-blowing movement was her friend and fellow educator, Esther Bhagwandas. Shortly after she stepped down as a middle school principal, Bhagwandas was sexually harassed by students from both New York City and Rhode Island. Bhagwandas’ high school colleagues had heard of her harassment but chose to ignore it and not report it.

Fighting for survivors of sexual harassment

“My friend made it clear that if I didn’t report it right away, I could be fired and lose my job and my family’s life. So at that point, I had no choice but to think about the impact on my kids and I. If I had not done it right away, my family and I would have gotten fired and all the kids would have been without a principal and a happy and loving home. “

Now, Ifeoma has been protecting young people since 2012. She educates parents, teachers, counselors, and students about the dangers of online predators and cyberbullying; and helps them find information and actionable tools to help them identify and stop incidents of online abuse.

The whistle

This year marks 10 years since Esther Bhagwandas shared her story and empowered hundreds of thousands of young people to draw a “Whistle” and stand up against digital injustice.

Ifeoma was the second person to draw a whistle on her desk; women at her school had previously written and drawn a number of whistles, including a model of the president’s office. So, when Ifeoma said she was going to draw a whistle, she could easily see who else should be drawing a whistle.

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