The Richmond Register

January 31, 2013

Madison Middle gets anti-bullying awareness legislation in front of lawmakers

Madison Middle

By Crystal Wylie and Kaitlin Keane
Register News Writer and Chief Photographer

RICHMOND —

State Rep. Rita Smart, D-Richmond, visited Madison Middle School Wednesday to announce a bill the school initiated and will be considered by Frankfort in February.

HB 35 would designated October as Anti-Bullying Month in Kentucky and make purple and yellow — Madison Middle’s school colors — the colors of the awareness campaign’s official commemoration ribbon.

“HB 35 is the result of considerable effort by Madison Middle School’s staff and students to bring attention to how bullying impacts our students, our schools, and our state,” Smart said.

During the last legislative session, the General Assembly had attempted to pass a bill to “put some legislation into action,” she said, but it stalled in a committee.

“(HB 35) will create an awareness of the problem of bullying, and I think it’s very important we keep it before legislators and before our state ? that’s the purpose of this bill,” she said. “It’s an ongoing problem that needs to be faced head on.”

Smart said one of her daughters was bullied in middle school more than 20 years ago.

The bill was pre-filed by Smart last year after she received an email from the school’s assistant principal, Scott Anderson.

After some research, Anderson discovered Kentucky did not have an official ribbon commemorating National Bullying Prevention Month in October.

Purple represents victims of domestic violence while yellow represents those who have committed suicide because they were bullied, Anderson said.

“We want the colors to not only instill school pride, but to remind us to treat each other as human beings,” he said in October when the school began a week-long Anti-Bullying Ribbon Campaign.

“Bullying is such a big issue right now,” Anderson said. “Too many times you hear parents say a school is not doing enough to stop bullying, and we at Madison Middle want to be proactive."

During that week, students engaged in several activities to promote anti-bullying in their school. One afternoon, more than 400 students and staff gathered on the front lawn of the school and stood in a formation that spelled the words: Stop Bullying.

When asked if bullying still exists in her school, seventh-grader Bailee Banober said, “I still see it sometimes, but now that we have done all this, I think people are starting to get the point to stop and that we shouldn’t do that anymore."

Bailee said she hopes Madison Middle will be a “role-model school” to motivate other schools to take the anti-bullying pledge.

“I think students should not be afraid to come to school. I think they should come to school with no worries at all,” she said. “School should be a safe place for learning and making new friends — not to be afraid.”

Rep. Rita Smart, D-Richmond, visited Madison Middle School Wednesday to announce a bill the school initiated will be considered by Frankfort in February.

HB 35 would designated October as Anti-Bullying Month in Kentucky and make purple and yellow — Madison Middle’s school colors — the colors of the awareness campaign’s official commemoration ribbon.

“HB 35 is the result of considerable effort by Madison Middle School’s staff and students to bring attention to how bullying impacts our students, our schools, and our state,” Smart said.

During the last legislative session, the General Assembly had attempted to pass a bill to “put some legislation into action,” she said, but it failed to pass a committee.

“(HB 35) will create an awareness of the problem of bullying and I think it’s very important we keep it before legislators and before our state — that’s the purpose of this bill,” she said. “It’s an ongoing problem that needs to be faced head on.”

Smart said one of her daughters was bullied in middle school more than 20 years ago.

The bill was pre-filed by Smart last year after she received an email from the school’s assistant principal Scott Anderson.

After some research, Anderson discovered Kentucky did not have an official ribbon commemorating National Bullying Prevention Month in October.

Purple represents victims of domestic violence while yellow represents those who have committed suicide, in this case because they were bullied, Anderson said.

“We want the colors to not only instill school pride, but to remind us to treat each other as human beings,” he said in October when the school began a week-long Anti-Bullying Ribbon Campaign.

“Bullying is such a big issue right now,” Anderson said. “Too many times you hear parents say a school is not doing enough to stop bullying, we at Madison Middle want to be proactive."

During that week, students engaged in several activities to promote anti-bullying in their school. One afternoon, more than 400 students and staff gathered on the front lawn of the school and stood in a formation that spelled the words: Stop Bullying.

When asked if bullying still exists in her school, seventh-grader Bailee Banober said, "I still see it sometimes, but now that we have done all this, I think people are starting to get the point to stop and that we shouldn't do that anymore."

Bailee said she hopes Madison Middle will be a “role model school” to motivate other schools to take the anti-bullying pledge.

“I think students should not be afraid to come to school. I think they should come to school with no worries at all,” she said. “School should be a safe place for learning and making new friends — not to be afraid.”