Junior high schoolers create club to stop bullying

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by Justin Corr

NWCN.com

Posted on October 5, 2012 at 5:41 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 25 at 1:24 AM

 

BOISE -- South Junior High schoolers are making a difference in the effort to stop bullying.

"I feel like it's a problem everywhere," said South Junior High freshman Patrick Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald says he's been bullied. "I didn't know what to say," he said. "I didn't know what to do."

He's not alone. But like many others at South, Fitzgerald saw a problem with bullying at his school, and is now doing something about it.

"I want to give people the courage to stand up and say, 'That's not OK.' And, to stand up for themselves, and other people," said Fitzgerald.

He's a part of the Paw Out Bullying Club, which aims to stop bullying at South through education and awareness.

Yoli Gonzales is a teacher at South, and adviser to the group, which started in her reading class. "I challenged them, and told them, 'Hey, let's do something.'"

The Paw Out Bullying Club was formed at the start of the school year with just 6 members. Now, there's 62.

"I'm so glad that the students were the ones who thought about it, and that it's not coming from adults. Rather, it's really coming from them," said Gonzales.

"It really does help people in a different way, than if a principal just comes in and says, 'Hey, stop bullying!'" said Corina Ockart.

Ockart is a member of the club, but says she used to bully with gossip. Now, she says she stops it when she sees or hears it. "Deep down, you know it hurt the person," she said.

Gonzales says she's already seen changes in the halls, and in students, thanks to the work of the kids in this club. "They wanted to really leave a legacy," she said. "They really wanted to see the culture at our school change."

"People in our school don't necessarily know what it's about yet. But, they will," said Gonzales.

Friday, many members attended a free anti-bullying seminar at Boise State. Next week, all the students who went to the seminar will share what they learned with their classmates at South, and talk more about their club.

The club is open to all students at South Junior High.

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