CWU Observer Article: Central students run anti-bullying campaign with Ellensburg high school

The following article was published in the CWU Observer about my student’s 2013 National PRSSA Bateman Competition campaign. Keep up the good work Bateman team! -Liz

Article written by Justine Sisson, Staff Reporter and published in the CWU Observer on February 20, 2013. Source:  http://cwuobserver.com/article.php?id=394

Five Central Washington University students are working with Ellensburg High School on an anti-bullying campaign, known as “Stomp Out Bullying.”

“A lot of people think of bullying as what happens at the school, but that’s not necessarily the case,” Chelsea Hite senior public relations majors, said.

The five students are Hite, Makaiya Simmons, Lindsey Sires, Kayse Dahl and junior Alex Homer.
“It used to be [when] you left school you were fine, but now you have Facebook, Twitter, and text messaging. I think a lot kids feel like they can’t get away from it,” Hite said.

All are members of the Public Relations Student Society of America and are doing the project for the Bateman national competition.

Bullying is different today since the growth of technology, and PRSSA members are working to address this.

The campaign started with an assembly on Feb. 1, and will continue all month. Over 750 students attended the assembly, which included results of surveys and focus group information about online bullying.

Students were able to Skype with Jake Updegraff, a Central alumnus currently interning for Ryan Seacrest Productions, about his experiences with bullying. The assembly also contained skits by the ASB students and a video by Emily Meyer, a Central film and video studies student.

After the assembly, students were asked to sign a pledge to not engage in bullying, with 267 students signing it.

The pledge is posted in the lunchroom for students and faculty to see.

“Community support is imperative for this campaign to succeed,” Kayse Dahlsaid. “Everyone is affected by bullying, either as a victim, a bystander, or an instigator, which means everyone has the ability to step in and do something about it.”

Members have approached local businesses and asked for their support and gave participating businesses a certificate.

The Bateman team members hope the certificates will boost community involvement and spark conversations between students and parents about bullying.

The group is also doing a definition competition. Currently, EHS’s definition of bullying and harassment is the Washington code, which is lengthy and out of date.

Students were asked to write a new definition to include face-to-face bullying and cyber bullying. The winner’s definition will be placed in the handbook next year and the individual will also win a set of Zooka iPod speakers.

“We are just trying to do a lot of different things for school involvement, raising awareness, and having people talk about the issue of bullying,” Hite said.

The school also has an alert system called ALERT1, where the students can anonymously type in their school’s code through e-mail, website, or via text when a bullying issue arises. The ALERT1 team works to stop bullying.

The Bateman team has encouraged students to start using the ALERT1 system to report bullying.

“It [working with the Bateman team] has been a fantastic new partnership that I hope can continue in the future,”EHS vice principal said.

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