Updated Mon, Oct 28, 2013 9:58 am
October is National Bullying Prevention month, a time when schools around the county make it clear to students what bullying is and how to stop it.
“You have to define it in order to fight it,” said Reggie Robinson of Health Recovery Services during Trimble High School’s assembly on Friday.
Robinson is a familiar face to the students in Athens County. He frequently visits the schools to educate students about preventing dating violence, drug and alcohol abuse and cyber bullying.
Bullying, he explained, is beyond meanness. It’s about power; it’s intentional and it’s repeated.
“I have dedicated my life to trying to make life better for someone else, if I possibly can,” he said to the students. “That commitment is renewed every time I hear of places where people are being hurt. People are being hurt here, and that concerns me.”
Robinson was referring not just to the bullying happening on school grounds, which is common in many schools. He also was referring to an incident earlier this month when a teen from the area attacked another teen with a lead pipe. It didn’t happen on school grounds, but
Robinson, the school staff and several students said they felt compelled to take action.
Drawing inspiration from the students, school counselor Alicia Stockler helped plan Friday’s assembly and other upcoming activities.
The school will host a poster content under the theme “Stand up. Speak out. Stop bullying.” The winning design will be displayed on a billboard in the community. A dance is slated for November.
Stockler said students plan to create an in-service program that’s still under development. The students meet every Tuesday between 11:15 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. in the school to discuss their ideas. Any student is welcome.
Nikki Tish, a sophomore, isn’t sure she’ll join, but she said she thought the assembly was inspirational.
“I learned to stand up for people who are getting bullied and to not care what other people think,” she said.
All three schools in the district are taking on their own versions of an anti-bully program as an extension of the district-wide positive behavior initiative implemented last year. The middle school has a new student group that will lead assemblies. The new counselor at the elementary school conducted a survey of the students. Those responses will be incorporated into the that school’s programming.
“Anyone who wants to stop the hurt, I beg you to join us,” Robinson said. “This school is dedicated to stopping the hurt. If you are with that, join us. If not, just know you’re going to have to change. That’s the clear message.”