Louisville eighth grader working with Microsoft to combat cyber bullying

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Louisville teenager is doing what she can to get the word out about online safety, and she is partnering with one of the world’s biggest companies to do it.

Jazmine Harry, and eighth grader at Christian Academy of Louisville, was one of 14 students chosen by Microsoft to be part of the Council for Digital Good. Hundreds of students wrote essays talking about a variety of online topics such as cyber bulling to human trafficking.

Tuesday was known as “Safer Internet Day,” and Jazmine used what she talked about with the Council to rally her classmates to write pledges to combat negativity online. 

“Since this is kind of the age where we make all of our friends and find who we are, sometimes people will judge you for who you are and who you want to be," Jazmine said. "You change yourself because of that, and I think that is just the worst thing. I think we should all respect each other's personalities and opinions.”

Jazmine’s history teacher said he is not surprised Microsoft chose her or that she made the initiative to help others.

“You see a kid, a young student, who is taking that message on her own, trying to really reach her peers with that message ... and trying to get that responsibility out there,” said Andrew Wilkerson, a teacher at Christian Academy.

After the pledges were made and hung on the school’s walls, Jazmine went to Louisville City Hall to create more pledges with Grace Simrall, the city’s Chief of Civic Innovation.

In a statement, Jacqueline Beauchere, Microsoft Chief Online Safety officer, said:

“We started the Council last year to connect with youth in a meaningful way about some important online safety issues, including online bullying, the proliferation of hate speech on the web, and sextortion. We wanted to hear and learn from the teens, and leverage them as a sounding board for our youth-focused policy efforts. Jazmine was chosen for her thoughtfulness about the issues, her interest in technology and her leadership potential with respect to online safety.”

For the next 14 months, Jazmine will continue on the Microsoft council and speaking out for resources like Stopbulling.org.

“I am going to encourage other people at this school to apply, because it has been an amazing adventure, and I am so thankful that I got in,” she said.

She will now be heading to Washington, D.C. to talk about social issues with a branch of the United Nations. Her goal is to one day work in technology or be a psychiatrist.

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