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A handful of students can make the difference between a hostile environment and one that encourages friendship, tolerance and peaceful co-existence. Leland Middle School has the latter. Thanks to a federally funded Learn and Serve Grant administered by Communities in Schools, students are working together to end bullying in their school.
The program, called Live in Peace, involves nearly a dozen students committed to making their school a better place.
“We want to stop people from treating other people wrong,” explained sixth-grader Josiah Deal.
One of the first steps in accomplishing this mission was the Ant-Bullying Pledge. Written on a poster near the main entrance, the pledge has been signed by nearly every student and teacher in the school, resulting in the addition of a second poster.
Having the full support of the school administration shows students the importance of working together to create a positive environment for learning to take place. The committee meets regularly and has a dedicated whiteboard in the cafeteria where they post inspiring words for their classmates.
In April, there will be a schoolwide anti-bullying festival.
“It will be fun, and people will get it in their heads that all the games have something about anti-bullying in them,” said Aleigha Weldrick, a sixth-grader on the committee.
Students are busy creating posters, rap songs and other forms of entertainment to get their message across.
Working in conjunction with Peer Court, the program teaches students about resolving conflicts in non-combative ways; the affects and prevention of bullying; stress management; and developing healthy relationships.