The students at Horizon Community Learning Center in Ahwatukee Foothills made a simple gesture as a whole on Friday, but the meaning behind it was substantial.
Horizon was one of more than 2,100 schools worldwide to participate in Stand 4 Change Against Bullying, a day that brings to light an issue that has come to the forefront of education.
Students spoke to a crowded gymnasium Friday morning and explained how they would respond to bullying, whether they are the one being bullied or what their responsibilities are as an observer.
“I know that in the split second it takes to bully someone, or to just watch as someone is being bullied, I can also use that time to do something positive that can help someone else,” student Jessica Duet said at the assembly. “I will use my voice for those who cannot let others know that I think that bullying is wrong.”
The assembly sparked an idea within a group of middle-school students that came as a surprise to Horizon’s middle and high school principal Nancy Emmons.
“You have to figure that an assembly like this might open a can of worms for kids to report a lot more, but we had a group of students come up and propose something unexpected,” Emmons said. “They talked to me about starting a club to welcome new students in a different way. They said they knew what it is like to be bullied because they had been before at a different school. The goal is how to make sure that people feel included and not excluded, and that bullying is not tolerated here.”
Horizon has a strict code of conduct, Emmons said, and students are taught about what is acceptable and not acceptable through the Student Handbook, which they go through with students periodically.
Assemblies like the one on May 4 are another way to make the students more aware of bullying and how it can affect others.
“I will stick up for my friends and other students who might need someone to stand up for them,” student Zack Segui said. “I know that it takes just as much time to stand up for someone as it does to look away. I will let them know they are not helpless or hopeless. I will not ignore bullying.”
To find out more, visit www.stand4change.org.
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