Posted at: 09/12/2012 10:40 PM
Updated at: 09/12/2012 10:44 PM
By: Dietrich Nissen
Mayo H.S. Students Create Anti-Bullying Program
(ABC 6 News) -- Last spring, bullying was thought to be the reason behind several local students' suicides. Now people are stepping forward to make sure that doesn't happen again.
Bullying has become a center of discussion for many parents and students across the nation, including those in Southeast Minnesota.
On Wednesday night at Mayo High School in Rochester, a group of more than a few dozen students met to find ways they can make their school safer. The meeting is a starting point for a student led campaign against bullying. It’s an issue, Mayo Junior, Sanober Mirza cares deeply about.
"We're coming out and showing that it is a problem and we want to make sure it's not in our school," says Mirza. She says bullying is not just blatant insults, it's the subtle prejudice people have.
"Just small comments here and there even with your friends. If they says something it might actually hit you at your heart," says Mirza.
"I want people to feel welcome at school," Mayo Senior, Nick Mcmonigle. He’s spearheading the Student Leaders Creating Change (SLCC) program. The goal is to teach students how to intervene when they spot someone being bullied whether in person or on the Internet.
"It'll create scenarios in which a student will learn how to assess and eventually mediate that conflict," says Mcmonigle.
"Peer intervention is what's found to work," says Vangie Castro, who serves on Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton's anti-bullying task force. She'll help guide this program but overall, stresses how crucial students are to making it successful.
"It's important to get the buy-in, especially from the students…if they want to create a change in the environment- in the school environment," says Castro.
"We're actually taking a stand, we're not just all talk anymore," says Mirza.
But this talk is the start to creating change and for the students attending Wednesday’s meeting, a path to making school a safer, more welcoming place for everyone.
School administrators are hoping this program is a success so it can be used at other schools in the Rochester district. The group plans on meeting weekly at Mayo High School, either after school Mondays or Thursday evenings.