The idea for the journalism class at Michigan State University to write a book this spring semester was hatched in December when Governor Rick Snyder signed a bill into law requiring all Michigan schools to change their bullying policies by the summer. The parents of Matt Epling, a victim of bullying for whom the law was named, visited the class.
"They said a lot of adults don't know that bullying has changed," explained Professor Joe Grimm.
So the seventeen unique students tackled the topic. From writing to graphic design, the students used their interests to pursue a four month study of what has changed about bullying in the past 15 year.
They came up with two major changes; first, the popularity of cyber bullying: "You can be bullied by many, many people and not even know who they are," Grimm continued.
Second, how lawmakers are taking a stronger stance against bullying: "There's a bunch of new laws; some of them pretty strict, that can put even young people in front of some pretty serious felony charges for using computers to bully each other."
The students invested everything they could into the project, but none of them had ever published a book before, and were running out of time and resources.
"About two thirds of the way through the semester, I chickened out. I didn't think we could do a book anymore," recalled Grimm.
But the book had become so much more than just another assignment to the students, and they took extra time outside of the classroom to finish it with just days to spare.
As for next year: "The presidential election is a pretty big deal." Another hot topic offering another batch of Journalism students the possibility of becoming published authors.
Digital copies are already available for $9.95. Hard copies are expected to be available for sale later this week and will cost $14.95
This is a link to the class website: http://news.jrn.msu.edu/bullying/