Earlier in the year, staff and students at Kyrene Altadeña Middle School took an initiative against bullying. They did a number of things throughout the school year, including the participation in No Name-Calling Week in January and the enrollment of their students in an online activity, Bully Academy Webquest.

The Altadeña students have said they are taking bullying very seriously and the school is as well. One student said that “everyone has been bullied” at some point and that has to change.

“There are all different types of bullying you see every day,” said Haley Prestwood, 8th grade student and co-president of Altadeña’s anti-bullying club, Momentum. “It’s such a huge issue. People my age, we have a lot of power to be able to stop it.”

But Prestwood realizes that because it has been around for an undefined amount of time, it will be a challenge to totally eliminate it from a school campus. But that doesn’t mean they are not going to try.

“It’s been going on for as long as people remember,” she said. “The goal is to get it to stop. I think it is possible someday, if we show everyone how bad it is. If we work together we can put a stop to it.”

To do so, every sixth, seventh, and eighth grade student went through Bully Academy Webquest, an online activity that involved research – reading articles and watching videos about bullying – and then took a test. Their test scores were compared against schools nationwide and overall, the Altadeña student body achieved the best results and they were named winners for the months of January and February for the organization.

For their effort, they were received a trophy and $250 from the Bullying Academy, and were also chosen to host speaker Gabriella Naseem Akhtar van Rij, who wrote a book on bullying titled “With All My Might.” She spoke to the student body at a school assembly on April 27.

“Our students are very aware of what is going on and they are willing to make a difference and change this epidemic,” said teacher Tonya Davis, who is co-sponsor of Momentum. “They don’t want to be bystanders. They want to make other kids feel safe when they come to school.”

To find out more about the Bully Academy, visit the website, www.bullyingacademy.org.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or troemhild@ahwatukee.com

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