NEWPORT - North Country Union High School faculty member Helen Poulin advised the high school board Tuesday night that she is helping the students form an anti-bullying organization called ABC Quest. Students are raising awareness of the problems associated with bullying.
“We are designing posters with anti-bullying messages,” said Poulin. “And we are selling pink T-shirts with 'Stood Up' on the front and anti-bullying messages on the back. The phrase 'stood up' is a message that when a person witnesses an act of bullying, rather than ignore it, you should stand up and confront it.”
Participating students are raising funds and selling the T-shirts for $5 each. Their goal is, in part, to use peer pressure to discourage acts of bullying.
Principal Bill Rivard stated the school has held workshops on cyber bullying, in which cell phones and the Internet are used to target and harass or bully a person.
“We will hold two assemblies to talk to the students about bullying,” he said.
Rivard stated that three bullying incidents were reported in the month of September. “We implemented a policy that makes parents of students accused of bullying aware of the problem. We let them know the student's behavior will be monitored and if the activity continues there will be disciplinary action.”
Rivard also noted the school makes a distinction between bullying and harassment. “Bullying is a continuous and repeated activity, while harassment is a single incident. Harassment might include using an inappropriate word or statement to another student. Bullying rises to a different level and we put consequences in place when we are made aware of the problem.”
“It can be a real problem for the bullied student, we see attendance drop, grades drop. The administration supports Ms. Poulin's effort to raise awareness of the problem,” Rivard concluded.