- Special Sections
- Public Notices
By Tim Thornberry
Public Relations Department of the KY Department of Education
There are frightening statistics available that show an alarming number of students that endure bullying although many states, including Kentucky, have passed laws to make it a crime. It is estimated that one out of three children have been bullied while one out of three have been bullies themselves.
This is unacceptable especially in a school setting but often it is hard to stop. Two students from the Carroll County Area Technology Center are using a HOSA Future Health Professionals project and their own experiences as a way to teach elementary students the harm caused from bullying and how to rid their schools of the practice.
Melanie Ransdell and Kasey Hunter are best friends, victims of bullying and the newest crusaders against it. They have developed a presentation as part of their Health Sciences class designed to educate others about the dangers of bullying and how to make their schools bully-free zones.
“I saw a lot of people getting bullied and I wanted to make a difference, so I sat down one day and put my thoughts together and want to get the word out there to get it stopped,” Ransdell said. “We may not get it all stopped but we can make the percentages go down.”
Bullying not only happens at school, but at other places like at work and even in the home, she said. It also takes on different forms from name calling, to physical bullying and even by way of the internet.
The two students spent countless hours putting together the project, which included a display board and literature, along with a scrapbook and a Power Point presentation. They also organized a demonstration component where the two took the message to a local elementary school.
Once the presentation was made, Ransdell and Hunter along with their Health Science Instructor Tonya Lindsay, collected pieces of paper with bullying words written on each that had been handed out prior to their presentation. The words were then attached to helium balloons. The whole class went outside to release the balloons symbolizing the release of those mean words and creating a bully-free school.
Ransdell and Hunter went back to the school the next day and spent lunch time having the students meet friends they did not know. The group then signed a “bully-free zone” banner that will hang in the school.
All the activities were designed to send a signal to these elementary students; to embrace each other’s differences and don’t bully for any reason.
The message brought by Ransdell and Hunter was intended to be for younger students, was created with their age in mind and speaks in a way they understand, but Ransdell said the facts are tough and tragic in many instances, something older students see and experience all too often.
She pointed out that many kids try to shrug off a negative comment and pretend it doesn’t bother them but that often leads to depression especially if that person has troubles at home or in their workplaces.
Hunter said after working on the project she discovered the problem to be just as bad for the younger students as those her age.
“I never realized it was as bad for the younger kids. When we got to the school so many were saying they had been bullied every day,” she said. “It just shocked me. I thought the younger kids were more accepting of each other.”
Hunter also said she feels like most young people get bullied in some way at some time. With that said she also thinks there are positive instances where these young students really are accepting of others and bullying doesn’t become an issue, But it’s rare, she said.
Lindsay said the subject of bullying fits well into what she is teaching in Health Sciences in that it can and does affect a victim’s physical health.
“My students see firsthand that we are all the same from a physical standpoint in how our bodies work. Therefore we should treat each other the same,” she said. “We are all the same inside.”
The presentation will now be judged as part of their state conference activities. If it wins the school competition, it will move on to the state HOSA Conference to be held in March of 2013.
Regardless of how the competition turns out, Ransdell and Hunter plan to take this show on the road and visit other schools but both emphasize it will take all people to realize the harm bullying can cause before it goes away.
“But I am bound and determined,” Ransdell said. “We want to make a difference.”