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Students taking ownership of anti-bullying program

By Paul Nelson | Posted - Jan 17th, 2013 @ 10:32am



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WEST JORDAN — Educators say they're seeing some promising results from an anti-bullying program at Sunset Ridge Middle School. They say the students have more ownership of it than the faculty does.

Earlier this year, one student came home after school, feeling fine — until she noticed someone put a sticky note on her back making fun of her weight.

"It devastated the student. She was very upset," said Sunset Ridge Middle School Counselor Julie Scherzinger

Scherzinger said the students responded, big time.

Reportedly, over a thousand students wore sticky notes with the phrase "Not in Our School," which became the name of their anti-bullying program.

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"It's not just a week-long, anti-bully program. It goes for three years, and then we start over," Scherzinger said.

Scherzinger says they focus on different aspects of the dangers of bullying all year long. This year, they're focusing on how students can show respect for each other. Another year, they'll focus on empathy. Next, they'll look at accepting diversity.

"We spend four or five months talking about different types of bullying and how not to get caught up in that and how to prevent it," Scherzinger said. "Then we spend January through May focusing on, ‘this is what we want to see happen now.' "

The campaign isn't just designed to spot potential problems. Scherzinger said they want to praise kids when they do something praiseworthy.

"Our PTA awarded us a grant so we are able to purchase incentives for our students when they are caught being good," Scherzinger said.

The students are the ambassadors in this program, which Scherzinger said is much more effective than the faculty preaching to the kids about how to behave. Students can text in when they see a classmate doing something nice, or if they notice a problem.

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