Students spend school day focused on issue of bullying

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GREENFIELD – It’s not your typical day at school at Greenfield Central Junior High.

Students are filming a public service announcement about bullying, while down the hall, other students sign an anti-bullying pledge.

“It’s the first time we’ve ever set aside an entire day for a theme like this,” said principal Harold Olin.

Recently, administrators at the high school dealt with a disturbing case of cyberbullying on Facebook, so for students here in Greenfield, this is much more than a theoretical discussion.

“The physical bullying isn’t nearly as much of a problem as online bullying, texting and just generally being cruel to other students,” said 8th grade teacher Lisa Potter, whose students came up with the idea of forming an anti-bullying club this past fall.

Last year, state lawmakers passed a new law dealing with bullying, but advocates are hoping to push more legislation in the future dealing specifically with cyberbullying.

“It’s so rampant, we need to fix this,” said student Schuyler Jensen. “So we decided to form this club.”

And that led to Tuesday’s events – a school-wide seminar of sorts dealing with all things bullying.

“I think it’ll make a big difference and make an impact on the students that are participating,” said student Violet Overstreet. “They make think it’s a stupid thing to spend an entire day on it but I think in the long run it’ll do them a lot of good.”

“Hardly anyone gets through middle school without dealing with bullying,” said keynote speaker Doug Wilhelm, an author who has written about bullying.

“Being bullied definitely adds on to the stress of school in general,” said student Whitney Bishop.

“Children talking to children will help more than adults talking to children,” said student Trevor Teague.

“If it changes the mind of one student and how they look at another student, then it’s done its purpose,” said Potter.

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