As a seventh- and eight-grader, Natalie Hampton — now 16 — experienced what she calls "horrific" bullying. She was cyberbullied, verbally taunted, and physically attacked, but the thing that always felt the worst to her was having to eat lunch alone. Hampton changed schools and began to thrive, but she could not just let that be the end of it. Inspired by her experiences — particularly the lonely lunches — Hampton created Sit With Us, a social media app designed to "promote a kinder and more inclusive school community" by allowing registered students to post lunches for other students to join.
"Moving on from that experience and looking back," Hampton says, "I realized that if I had at least one person to confide in through all of this, it would have saved me so much suffering."
In this edition of the Harvard EdCast, Hampton speaks about her experience with bullying and how it prompted her to create Sit With Us, and gives a student perspective on how schools can better handle issues of bullying.
The Harvard EdCast is a weekly series of podcasts, available on the Harvard University iTunes U page, that features a 15-20 minute conversation with thought leaders in the field of education from across the country and around the world. Hosted by Matt Weber and co-produced by Jill Anderson, the Harvard EdCast is a space for educational discourse and openness, focusing on the myriad issues and current events related to the field.