Attorney General Chris Koster met with students from Tuscumbia High School Tuesday afternoon to discuss their successful "kindness campaign" to combat bullying.
"Tuscumbia is probably the most successful example of students really embracing this, and I think that they have created a model that is capable of being taken to other school districts around the state," Koster said.School counselor Brittany Gaines said there are multiple elements that have been used for the campaign.
"We did bulletin boards, we did assemblies, we did a school-wide kindness chain," she said.
Students from Tuscumbia's National Honor Society are spearheading the initiative.Gaines said students approached her after hearing a presentation on internet safety from the Attorney General's Education Director, Tom Durkin.They said they have seen bullying start as early as elementary school.
"They pick on each other on the playgrounds, they leave each other out and for little kids that can be a really big deal," junior Tristen Patterson said.
"There were a lot of kids that didn't really fit in and they were picked on a lot, and they were also never really in school because they didn't want to come to school because they were always picked on. And we had a lot of cliques and a lot of drama," junior Alexis Ash said.
Bullying has evolved throughout the years from something that was once confined to school hours to an ever-present force through social media and cell phones.
"Today everybody's got a cell phone, they've got text messages, they've got email accounts, and so the student body never really escapes each other. So the student body, at least electronically, is connected 24 hours a day," Koster said.Both students and administrators said they've seen significant results since the start of the campaign.
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