Northern Suburbs News
Kids helping kids stop bullies
VALHALLA, N.Y. (WABC) -- A unique program in Westchester County is aimed at stopping the cycle of school bullies.
What's so unique is that it was started by students to educate younger students.
"It's a little nerve-racking because there are a lot of eyes looking up at you, but you get used to it once you've done it two or three times and you realize they look up to you," Ian Grossman, a Valhalla High School senior, said.
Perhaps it can be a little nerve-racking, but it's also life changing.
"My friend was being bullied by text and she was saying mean things like she shouldn't be alive. She was telling her parents and they reported it to the police," student Lisa Rica explained.
Reported only after these seniors at valhalla high school decided to go into middle school classrooms and teach their succesors how to stop the bullying cycle.
It's called Kids Helping Kids.
"Last year, we had 38 students who were divided up and they taught 90 sessions," Stacey Gagliardi, Kids Helping Kids Teacher advisor, said.
Triplets started it all after seeing a classmate get humiliated on the bus.
"We heard a lot of underclassmen coming up to her, teasing her on the seat. They would make fun of her odor," founder Jenna Williams said.
When the Williams triplets started this program, there was some concern that it would only last a year because they were graduating seniors, but now the program is in its second year. The school is getting calls about starting Kids Helping Kids elsewhere.
"How it happened, how quickly it grew, and the detail at which it was already formulated, when it came forward, was certainly a surprise," Valhalla High School Principal Jonathon Thomas said.
Everyone wanted to know what to do if they were being bullied.
"It's a real issue. Kids are jumping off bridges and committing suicide and lighting other kids on fire in schools like what happened in that incident. It's not being overblown. It's serious." Grossman said.
Eyewitness News is committed to tackling the subject of bullying.
Tuesday at 5:30, we invite you to tune into our half-hour special on Battling Bullies.
Hear from students who have been bullied to the point they've considered suicide to the warning signs that parents need to know.
We'll also have a live chat where you can get answers. Click here to learn more about the chat.
--- ONLINE RESOURCES:
ConnectSafely.org and the iKeepSafe Coalition have partnered to create A Parents' Guide to Facebook. The 35-page booklet and online resource is available for reading and printing at www.connectsafely.org/fbparents - provides parents with the perspective and how-to information they need to help their teens optimize their privacy and safety on Facebook.
Stop Bullying Now
New Jersey Bullying
Connecticut Commission on Children
Educator's Guide to Bullying
National Center for Bullying Prevention
Kids Health (Helping kids deal with bullies)
westchester county, battling bullies, bully, bullying, northern suburbs news, darla miles
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