Eagan teen fights bullying

Eagan High School sophomore Irene Henderson will host an anti-bullying event at Turning Point Dance Studio in Eagan on Oct. 22 for National Bullying Prevention Month. Henderson was a victim of bullying as a middle-schooler. (Photo by Jessica Harper)

Eagan High School sophomore Irene Henderson will host an anti-bullying event at Turning Point Dance Studio in Eagan on Oct. 22 for National Bullying Prevention Month. Henderson was a victim of bullying as a middle-schooler. (Photo by Jessica Harper)

Anti-bullying event set for Oct. 22

Eagan High School sophomore Irene Henderson was no stranger to bullying. As a middle-schooler, she was belittled, pushed and chastised by a school bully. Now she is fighting all bullies by using the greatest weapon — awareness.

Henderson will host a series of anti-bullying events this month as part of National Bullying Prevention Month, and hopes to shed light on the issue while helping victims escape their taunters.

Henderson’s first event will be held from 6:45- 7:45 p.m. Oct. 22 at Turning Point Dance Studio, 4101 Nicols Road, Eagan. Fliers, bookmarks and T-shirts will be available at the event.

“I want to share my story and let other students know they don’t have to put up with bullies,” Henderson said.

The campaign was inspired by the 15-year-old’s own battle with bullying. Growing up in San Diego, Henderson had few encounters with bullies until she entered sixth grade, when a former friend began to push her around and verbally abuse her.

Henderson said she kept the problem a secret from her parents for a while, but it came to her mother’s attention one day when she came home crying.

An immigrant from Madagascar, her mother, Julie, was surprised by the other girl’s actions.

“When I came to the U.S., I didn’t know about bullying,” Julie said.

Henderson’s mother called the girl’s parents, but the problem persisted.

The family moved to Eagan a month ago when her father took a job with Samsung.

Though she has had positive interactions with fellow students at Eagan High School, Henderson said she still struggles to trust new people due to the bullying.

“I’ve had a positive start. Everyone has been really nice,” she said, adding that she felt the campaign would be worthwhile at the school to prevent others from falling victim to bullies.

In addition to the event at Turning Point Dance Studio, Henderson is working with Eagan High School on other events throughout the month.

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