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Kent State Students Bring Anti-Bullying Campaign to Portage County

UPublish story by Lyndsey Sager

KSU student center
In this file photo, Students walk on esplanade between the Kiva and the Student Center towards the MAC Center on the Kent State University campus. (Mike Cardew/Akron Beacon Journal)

Students, parents and teachers at Rootstown Middle School will see a new anti-bullying program next week as a group of five Kent State University students present “Pledge to Prevent: Bullying Stops Here.”

The program, created and implemented by the KSU students, encourages bullying awareness in the middle school by teaching students about bystander techniques, educating parents on how to talk with children about bullying and providing the teachers and administrators with information about how to prevent bullying in the school.

Initial research by the KSU students found that Rootstown Middle School sees a similar level of bullying as other middle schools in America. The survey, which included 265 respondents from the school, found that 72.2 percent of the children say they have been bullied. Nationally, it is estimated that 77 percent of students have been bullied.

The students leading the program include senior public relations majors Kirsten Bowers, Wezley Garlick, Mary Kate Garvey, Caitlin Potts and Lyndsey Sager. The campaign is part of the Public Relations Society of America’s Bateman competition, a national competition among students belonging to college chapters of PRSA.

“Working on the campaign has been a great experience for me,” Caitlin Potts, one of the campaign leaders, said. “It’s been a lot of work, but researching, creating and now implementing the campaign has taught me a lot.”

Among the activities planned for Pledge to Prevent week are an anti-bullying poster design competition, a Jeopardy-style game in the lunchroom and humorous anti-bullying videos.

The students at Rootstown Middle School will also see bystander technique stickers, which they will be given to put on a favorite folder or notebook as a reminder of how to stand up to a bully.

Additionally, posters, including “bullying STOPS here” stop signs, will be hung throughout the middle school building.

The students say the main push of the campaign is to get students, parents and teachers to sign anti-bullying pledge cards to decrease bullying in the school.

The campaign will culminate during the final week of February, with a parent and community meeting about bullying and school safety. At the meeting, the KSU students will share the details and results of their program with the parents and community.

Beginning next week, a display will be available at the Ravenna Public Library, one of the campaign’s partners, with more information about bullying in the school.

For more information about the program, check out @PledgeToPrevent on Twitter, or go to Facebook.com/PledgetoPreventRootstown.


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