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District presents anti-bully program

Austin McCracken, Nathaniel Prentice and Dakota Smith give the thumbs up to start the stunt. In most instances, the anti-bullying message tugs at the heartstrings through an appeal to the emotions. Princeton ISD’s recent program took a different twist, and the students responded with enthusiasm to the energetic presentation delivered during a display of extreme sports.

ASA Entertainment was at Princeton High School recently to talk to secondary students about the dangers of bullying. The emcee for the event announced startling statistics as extreme sport athletes showed off their skills on the half-pipe.

“No Place for Hate” is sponsored by the Marines to help get the word to students about how they should treat their classmates.

According to the ASA website, the numbers show that bullying needs to be addressed nationwide. Statistics show:

56 percent of students have personally witnessed some type of bullying at school.

28 percent of students 12 to 18 report being bullied at school.

1 out of 10 students who drop out of school do so because of repeated bullying.

24 percent of students ages 12 to 18 report being cyber bullied during their lifetimes.

15 percent of social media-using teens say they have been the target of online meanness.

1 in 10 teens report they have cyber bullied someone online or by text message.

A stunt biker launches over PHS assistant principal Rich Boring. “There are many different types of bullying, including physical, verbal, sexual, prejudicial and one that has grown rapidly over the past few years, cyber bullying,” said Tyler Hank, the “No Place for Hate” tour manager. “Bullying can come in the form of hitting, teasing, racial slurs, threats, spreading rumors or insulting.”

Tyler also offered tips to students if they see bullying in action.

“Support victims no matter if you know them or not,” he suggested. “Don’t participate. Tell aggressors to stop. Inform a trusted adult, and get to know people, instead of judging them.”

According to PHS counselor Wendy Cain, the PISD school board has set goals and wants to seek to address situations before they arise.

“One of these goals is to ensure that all secondary students in 6th through 12th grade have the opportunity to participate in learning that brings awareness to the issue of bullying and how to be a positive part in finding solutions,” she said.

In recent years, the district has offered several programs, including Rachel’s Challenge.

“By bringing ASA Entertainment's ‘No Place for Hate’ program, the district is excited about providing a different venue for students to hear the message of anti-bullying in the forms that are prevalent today,” Mrs. Cain said. “This program focuses on using high-energy sporting events to gain the attention of students with something that is fun for them.”

The students were excited about this format.

“It was cool how they were doing tricks,” Clark student Harley Harding said. “A lot of the programs can be boring when all they are doing is talking. The message means more when they make it interesting.”

Clark students are eager to volunteer to participate in the program. Mrs. Cain said she hopes the students remember the message as much as they remember the stunt bikers launching over their principals and classmates.

“By the end of the program, we hope that students are able to walk away with specific bullying prevention facts along with ways to respond to bullying and be an ally for others.”

Extreme athletes perform stunts during program.