Friday, May 4, 2012
Bullying is an issue that many local students deal with on a daily basis, but now with the support of teachers, parents, and school officials, they are fighting back.
Waccamaw schools teamed up this past weekend to “Stomp Out Bullying” with a two-mile walk and celebration at Waccamaw Middle School.
The event, which brought out about 200 people, was organized by student councils at Waccamaw High and Waccamaw Middle schools.
Waccamaw Elementary and Waccamaw Intermediate schools were also well represented.
Vervetine Reid, principal of Waccamaw Elementary, said this was a wonderful first-time event.
“This is a great start for stomping out bullying with many elementary and middle school students, parents and faculty,” Reid said.
Tim Carnahan, principal of Waccamaw Intermediate, agreed.
“A lot of bullying begins at younger ages,” Carnahan said. “That’s where we need to instill the values to survive later grades.”
Blake Graham, senior class president at Waccamaw High and the junior ambassador for StompOutBullying.org, said the event, the first of its kind here, was a big success.
“This event is important because it raises awareness about anti-bullying efforts here in Georgetown County,” Graham said.
“We had a great turnout of students, parents and school staff, and I think it will be even bigger next year.”
He said his advice for children who are being bullied is to first tell an adult.
“Kids like to do things themselves, but sometimes an unwanted outcome occurs,” Graham said.
“And a lot of times kids think they had something to do with it or did something wrong.”
He added that it is also important for kids to stand up for themselves and let the bully know they are not going to stand for it.
“I think the main reason bullies bully is because they have been hurt themselves and if they can put pressure on someone else that makes them feel better about themselves,” Graham said.
“If a person stands up and says ‘I don’t like what you’re doing,’ the bullying should stop.”
He said if students can establish that attitude in elementary and middle school, bullying could deteriorate in the next generation.
“I was bullied and for me, I had to learn to stand on my own two feet,” Graham said. “For me, it was an internal thing, like a light bulb going off in my head.”
Rick Gehrman, a teacher and student council advisor at Waccamaw Middle School, explained that the Stomp Out Bullying program is sponsored by Love our Children.
He said he wanted to thank Midway Fire and Rescue, the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office, ServePro, and PTAs and PTOs from all four Waccamaw schools for their help with the event.
“This is a community effort because we don’t want bullies in our schools,” Gehrman said. “When parents and other adults in the community get involved it is more effective. Together we can stomp out bullying.”
By Clayton Stairs