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High school students take a stand against bullies

By Ashley Kewish | Posted - Apr. 6, 2012 at 5:36 p.m.


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OREM -- The Department of Education reports one in three high school and middle school students are bullied, and students at Mountain View High School want to change that number at their school.

The documentary released this month, [Bully](<http://www.ksl.com/index.php? sid=19438499&nid=1011&title=the-weinstein-co-scores-pg-13- rating-for-bully&s_cid=queue-13 >), deals with the issue. The movie follows five students who are bullied horribly, some to the point of suicide.

Bullying is a hot topic at Mountain View High School in Orem. Although students say they haven't dealt with bullying on as large of a scale as the kids in the movie, it's still a problem they deal with daily. Enough of a problem that one group of students decided to tackle the issue head-on.

"They may be joking around and everything, but it really does hurt the person that they're joking about," said student Becca Smith.

It seems every student has a story.

"There was a group of boys (who), whenever these two girls would walk past them, the boys would ‘moo' at them," said student Betty Evans.

"It hits home for a lot of people because it's something everyone has to deal with," said student Colton Story. "Everybody has to deal with being bullied."

For that reason, the students came up with a plan they dubbed "Take a Stand" week. They decided to stand up against bullying and prejudice in their school.

By the numbers
  • 9 out of 10 LGBT students experienced harassment at school and online.
  • 160,000 students stay home on any given day because they're afraid of being bullied.
  • 1 out of 5 kids admits to being a bully, or doing some "bullying."
  • 43% fear harassment in the bathroom at school.
  • 282,000 students are physically attacked in secondary schools each month.
  • 80% of the time, an argument with a bully will end up in a physical fight.
  • 1/3 of students surveyed said they heard another student threaten to kill someone.

Since bullies often use Facebook as an outlet to hurt others, the students decided that's how they would spread the message. They made a video about their plan, with each student pledging to end bullying and disrespect. Then they challenged every student to write a note to another student giving words of encourage and support.

"Someone just saying, ‘I appreciate you.' It just makes a big difference," Becca said.

They don't consider their work done, however, and they plan to continue with their efforts.

"We all want to be able to walk around our school and be confident that people are going to be kind to you," Betty said. "That you'll be kind to others -- that it's safe."

The students' hard work even caught the attention of the popular band, "Neon Trees." The band planned to come to the school Friday and speak to the students about the importance of ending bullying, but bad weather kept them in California. They did, however, promise to visit the school sometime next month.

akewish@ksl.com

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