For students at Memorial Middle School, they can walk through the halls with their head held high, because they are working with teachers and administration to take a stand against bullying.
The school has actively been implementing an anti-bullying program, which is aimed at bringing awareness to the things students can do to help stop bullying on campus. Through different activities, students are encouraged to become more proactive when it comes to reporting any incidences they see on campus and learning how to identify when bullying may present.
“I’ve learned that it helps to talk to an adult, and to have the confidence to talk to teachers about what is going on,” said Alyssa Santillana, seventh grade student at Memorial. “It’s great to be a part of this program, because I’m able to talk to students and share the things I’ve learned with them.”
Campus activities include a weekly message during announcements on the actions students can take to prevent bullying from starting and the installation bullying boxes around campus. The bullying boxes allow students to anonymously report any concerns they may have, said Saul Ibarra, Assistant Principal at Memorial. Administration investigates every report they receive to determine if the situation needs to be resolved with their anti-bullying protocol. The protocol is a series of disciplinary actions students will face if they engage in bullying activities.
“Since we’ve started the anti-bullying program, the students have become more proactive,” said Memorial Counselor Delia Padilla. “You can see the unity. Students are helping each other in any way they can.”
Parents are also getting in on the action by signing an anti-bullying contract with their child at the beginning of the year.
To help bring new safety activities to the campus, Memorial has created an anti-bullying committee. The committee is comprised up of students, teachers, counselors and administration.
“With students input, we are able to gain a unique insight to what is going on in the classrooms,” said Padilla. “Their ideas can help other students have a positive experience in the classroom, and help them focus on learning.”
Their input has lead to the program’s newest activity, Anti-Bullying Week. From Feb. 25 – March 1, students celebrated class unity by participating in themed days, which asked them to align their attire with the day’s message. The campus closed out the week with a pep rally. The celebration showcased students in their best pink attire.
With the success they’ve seen, the campus has no plans to slow down. The committee has already started to develop new activities for their next school year. Their goal is to work towards a campus 100% free of bullying, said Ibarra. Students, who hope that all students will be able to look back on their years at Memorial knowing that they helped make a difference, mutually share the feeling, said Santillana.