PECULIAR, Missouri - “Be the change in the world you wish to see” that famous quote from Mahatma Gandi is the motto for a program launched at Raymore-Peculiar East Middle School.
It’s aimed at teaching students to deal with racial and cultural diversity and prevent bullying.
During the program called “Challenge Day” students learned intimate details about each other.
Sarah Moore, an 8th grade student said, “It was surprising because I didn't know that all this stuff happened to all these other kids. I didn't know what they were all going through and I didn't realize how much words hurt.”
The program was led by School Resource Officer Audra Ayers.
Ray-Pec Middle School is the first school in the state of Missouri to incorporate this type of anti-bullying program into its curriculum.
School principal David Mitchell believes the program will lead to change.
“Hopefully that proactive approach will prevent some of those issues from happening in the future and really start to change the culture of our school and how we behave and what we will accept” said Mitchell.
The students also believe the program will make a difference.
8th grader Brook Purvis said she has been bullied and today that bully apologized to her.
“It was really like a huge weight off my shoulders because it really made me realize that they care now” said Purvis.
Several high school students formed a panel to help facilitate questions.
Keandre Robinson, a high school senior said, “They see that they all have common problems, some deal with divorce, depression and loss of friends.”
A recent study by the Ethics of American Youth says half of all high school students have bullied someone in the past year and nearly as many have been the victims of bullying.
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