Callaway Middle students take stand against bullying

Callaway Middle students take stand against bullying

TROUP COUNTY, GA (WTVM) - Rumors, insults, and threats are just some of the ways peers bully, according to the national Stop Bullying Campaign.

As bullying in extreme cases can lead to self harm or even suicide, educators in the valley are trying to tackle the problem.

October marks National Bullying Prevention month, sparking a school wide initiative at Callaway Middle in Troup County.

"Sometimes they don't even want to come to school," said Callaway Middle counselor Freda Weldon when discussing some of the damaging effects of bullying.

Bullying can leave its mark on the day-to-day lives of the 22 percent of students who report being bullied each year, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics.

The staggering one-in-four statistic has prompted counselors to continue changing the way schools handle the issue.

"I can remember growing up as a child people would say things to you, and they would say as long as they don't hit you it's okay," said Weldon.

At Callaway Middle School in Troup County, a group of students and faculty launched the SUSI initiative, an acronym for Stepping Up and Stepping In when someone sees a fellow classmate getting picked on.

Research from shows it's one way to help the issue, as bullying stops within 10 seconds after a bystander intervenes at least 57 percent of the time.

The school gave away neon green shirts and football players wore the same colored socks this month to promote the awareness. Counselors add they plan on wrapping up the month by encouraging students to take a stance against the harmful behavior.

"I pledge that I will not participate in things like name calling, or sending inappropriate messages, anything that would be hurtful or harmful behavior," said Tiffany Cindrick, another counselor at the middle school.

"We want our students to be all they can be, we want them to come to school, feel safe and we want them to be in an awesome learning environment," said Weldon.

The bullying awareness initiative will continue at Callaway Middle with an upcoming door decorating contest.

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