Students to present Bully Busters program

BOTKINS — Three Botkins Elementary School students have decided to tackle the problem of bullying through a statewide program.

Sixth-graders Grace McCafferty, Nicholas Fischio, and Sarah Klaus have formed the Bully Busters as part of Ohio’s Youth For Justice, a program of the Ohio Center of Law-Related Education. The team was responsible to identify a problem in their community, investigate the problem and find possible solutions. They also had to develop a plan of action.

The group put their plan of action to the test recently by delivering a presentation to Botkins students in first through fourth grades.

“We found through our research that early education helps,” Fischio said. “I never realized bullying was as big as a problem as what it is.”

The program included several different skits, including the topics of cyber-bullying, picking on someone because they were short, and teasing someone fort being small in stature.

Each skit closed with a discussion on what happened and possible remedies of fixing the problem. All of the skits stressed the importance of reporting potential bullying to teachers or other overseeing adults.

“When we did our research, we were surprised at how big of a problem it is,” McCafferty said. “We witness the problem in our grade sometimes. Over half the class said they have witnessed it.”

The team has been working on their project since the beginning of March. Their efforts will culminate with the program’s concluding event, the Youth For Justice Summit, on May 8. The team will join more than 200 other elementary school students to present their projects at the Vern Riffe Center in Columbus in front of government officials and community leaders.

Jan Jones, the team adviser and gifted-blended learning specialist at the school, said the team has done a great job in putting together an education program to fight the bullying problem.

“They have used an educated approach and worked very hard on it,” Jones said. “They have worked on making a difference and keeping in sustainable. Their thought was that if other kids brought the message, it might be more easily received.”

The team employed several fourth-graders to help present the skits to the other students.

Klaus said she felt the message was an important one.

“I think it is very important to help kids realize what bullying really is,” Klaus said.

The group is hoping their efforts will lead to other schools incorporating their program and joining the battle to stop bullying. The team has applied for a $500 state grant to buy frisbees and put the team’s logo, “Think Twice. Be Nice,” on them.

“We would just like to make a difference,” Fischio said.