Monday, January 30, 2012

Chattanooga area student wages campaign against bullying

Throughout elementary and middle school, Jasmine Scruggs witnessed the continual bullying of certain friends and classmates.

It outraged her, but she said many of her peers and teachers responded with apathy.

"It's just like a rite of passage -- like it's OK," said the 17-year-old Scruggs. "But it's not."

Now a senior at Tyner Academy, she's focused much of this school year on the issue of bullying. For her required senior project, she's planning a February event to raise awareness and money to combat bullying in local schools.

Scruggs said she's always been irked by bullying, but she decided to take action after reading a 2010 Times Free Press story about a local eighth-grader who wrote a letter to his principal and the superintendent, asking to switch schools because of ongoing bullying.

"We really don't deserve that," Scruggs said. "School is a place for learning. You shouldn't have all those extra problems. You shouldn't be scared going to school. It's sad. It's disgusting."

Scruggs' event, set for Feb. 25, will feature poetry, dance and songs by local youths that address bullying.

"I want it to be so many people that it's overflowing," she said. "How could we sit around and act like this is OK?"

All proceeds from the fundraiser will go to Students Taking a Right Stand, or STARS, a nonprofit that works closely with Hamilton County Schools to support a healthy school environment. The group also works with teachers and students on combating bullying.

The Prevention Team and 411 Pain Support the youth making a positive impact on their community and we encourage everyone to help stop bullying today.

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