For the fourth consecutive year, three groups of high school students embarked on a path this week to educate their peers about bullying prevention.
Family, Careers and Community Leaders of America, Students Against Bullying, and two Interpersonal Studies classes came together to prevent bullying through a series of kind acts done daily during the weeklong event.
“I tasked them with educating their student population about what bullying is and how to prevent it,” said Jana Shurtleff, Copperas Cove High School family and consumer science teacher.
The students had different tasks each day — from complimenting each other Monday to smiling all day Tuesday, making new friends Wednesday, offering hugs Thursday and wearing yellow Friday.
Sophomore Casady Jones said she most enjoyed “Smile Tuesday.”
“Everyone’s smiling. Some would smile weird, but others you knew were real.”
Junior Hannah Fox preferred the Wednesday activity.
“It gave everyone a chance to be friends or to get along with someone they wouldn’t ordinarily be with,” she said.
Shurtleff said simply saying “hi” can make a great impact on somebody.
“You never know when someone is having a bad day,” she said. “You never know when that smile makes a difference in that person that day.”
While the theme was bullying prevention, Shurtleff said it goes deeper than that.
“It’s about invoking warmth. It’s more than just about bullying,” she said. “It’s about invoking kindness in our students. When you have a climate of kindness, it makes bullying harder to exist. If we can save one person’s life, then we’ve done our job.”
Shurtleff said the anti-bullying program has made a difference at the high school.
“I’ve seen a difference in the last four years,” she said. “I don’t see students singling other students out so easily. I believe there is a change in our climate.”