(Photo by Nick Delgado)
COPPERAS COVE (December 12, 2013) Dozens of Copperas Cove High School students spent the week learning about the negative impact of bullying during the school’s fourth annual Bullying Prevention Week, which in included a variety of activities to help students promote a positive attitude on campus.
"I saw it happening in our schools," said teacher Jana Perry Shurtleff.
"I saw it after school, before school, during school, and it was being ignored."
She said the program started after she realized that bullying had evolved.
"It was something that kids were not able to escape very easily because of our current social media websites, cell phones and different technologies," she said.
Cove High School senior Alex Salinas said he's been bullied since he was in elementary, and got involved to ensure others are not put in that same situation.
"I've been pushed, shoved, beaten up, called names, had rumors spread about me when really I'm just trying to make it through the day," he said.
"People can talk about it, people can say bullying is bad but unless they really experience it themselves first hand it doesn't quite send the message."
Emily Kimbrough, a Cove High School senior, led the effort to write positive compliments to be shared with classmates.
She said she too was bullied in school, and the name-calling by her peers left her in tears quite often.
She said she sought comfort from family and friends.
Kimbrough said she even had a friend who took her own life because of bullying, and she encouraged others to never give up.
"They're not alone and just know there is always someone who cares about them and that there's always help around,' she said.
Students also made videos to educate their peers about the impact that bullying can have.
“We can't stop bullying entirely, but we can stop one bully. One at a time," said freshman Scott Wild.
The hope is to expand the activities so that other schools in Cove can participate.
The students and staff will end the week by wearing the color yellow, as part of a movement to encourage friendship.
Copperas Cove police also reminded the community that a bully can be charged with a criminal offense.