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EM students prepare for Bully Free Awareness Walk

By LeAnn R. Ralph

ELK MOUND — Students in the Elk Mound school district will be participating in a Bully Free Awareness Walk on May 9.

The high school student group, Students Supporting Students (SSS), has been working diligently to prepare for the walk, according to Randi Stanley, an Elk Mound high school teacher who is the SSS adviser.

“Last year our Students Supporting Students participated in a bully free awareness walk that was organized by a local Girl Scout troop in Eau Claire that took place at Owen Park, and we were all so impressed with the event that we wanted to snowball off of their idea and create a similar walk in our district,” Stanley said.

Earlier this year, Emily Yang, a junior at Elk Mound High School, wrote a grant application for a $1,000 Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse grant through the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction to fund the bully free awareness activities.

“Our main goal of the walk is to bring awareness to the Elk Mound community that our students and staff within our district will not tolerate any form of bullying,” Stanley said.

“We truly understand that bullying can affect many individuals in many different ways, and if we can stop or deter bullying from occurring in any way, shape or form, SSS members will do it. This walk is just one example of the many activities that took place in our school district this school year to help put an end to bullying,” she said.

Yang said that writing the grant application was a “great way for me to help out with SSS.”

“Bullying is a problem that happens everywhere. Not only in schools. I know that it happens here in the Elk Mound District,” Yang said.

“So with this topic, we can help make Elk Mound be a bully-free school with the books, posters, and the Bully-Free Walk. In addition, each student has signed a contract to stop bullying,” she said.

Students Supporting Students has done a variety of activities this year to raise awareness about the topic of bullying, including designing and placing bulletin boards and posters at all three of the Elk Mound school buildings; purchasing books for the libraries at all three schools; asking high school students to sign a bully-free drug-free contract for which they received a bracelet that reads, ‘One School One Goal Drug and Bully Free’; designing Buddy Benches; donating books to help educate staff members; setting up educational tables during lunch at the high school on the 14th of each month; handing out bookmarks to students from pre-kindergarten to eighth grade on the 14th of each month that read ‘One School One Goal Drug and Bully Free’; handing out stickers to the pre-kindergarten through fifth grade students on the 14th of each month; asking students to sign vinyl banners at the elementary school and middle school to show how many students took the pledge of bully and drug free.

The Bully Free Awareness Walk on May 9 will involve 20 Students Helping Students members placed around a walking path, and each one of the SSS members will read a bully fact to the student body throughout the day.

The bullying facts are intended “to bring awareness to the topic and to encourage our students to think before they act on any form of behavior,” Stanley said.

High school students will walk between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m.; middle school students will walk between 12:15 p.m. and 1:15 p.m.; and elementary school students will walk from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

“We hope the awareness and education about bullying will help to limit bullying here. Bullying isn’t something that can be eliminated, but we can start with building awareness to stop and put a limit to bullying here at Elk Mound,” Yang said.

“Together, as a district, we can deter bullying and drug usage,” Stanley said.