Students give lesson, share anti-bullying message

School may be out for summer, but some students at Seymour Middle School felt one more lesson was important in the days leading up to summer break.

Students from Seymour Middle School’s Upstanders Club visited Seymour-Jackson Elementary School the last week of school to educate students about bullying.

The school’s anti-bullying club has about 60 members with 42 serving as volunteers to present the message in a number of classrooms.

It was started six years ago by counselor Troy Hubbard after anti-bullying advocate Jim Williams of Brentwood, Tennessee, suggested other schools were forming clubs and maybe Seymour should form one, Hubbard said.

Williams made multiple visits to schools in Jackson County as part of the “Call Me Jim” series.

Hubbard said the club makes an impact at the school to help educate students that bullying is not OK, which is important at the junior high level.

“They’re at the age where it’s peak time for bullying,” he said. “They want to do something to make a difference. It’s to promote getting along with each other and being kind to each other.”

Club members were split into groups of three to present the program. Each group developed its own lesson plan to present, Hubbard said.

Students discussed the four types of bullies: Physical, verbal, friendship and cyber.

Seventh-graders Jayden Galyean, Kathryn Roy and Kaylynn Linville presented to Tammy Hubbard’s first-grade class. The three weren’t nervous because they all volunteer at Girls Inc. of Jackson County, so they’re used to talking in front of groups.

They also have a passion for the anti-bullying message because the three have been bullied before.

Galyean said she was being bullied because she was thin and “how she is.”

“I finally told him to stop and got a teacher,” she said. “I’ve stood up to many bullies because of this.”

Galyean said she remembers when she was in elementary school and saw the anti-bullying message by the Upstanders Club.

“It’s helped me,” she said. “If it helped me, I’m pretty sure it will help other people.”

Roy said she was bullied for her height and weight and has been called a lot of names, so that’s the reason she participates in Upstanders Club. She also feels that reaching younger students may help end bullying by making them understand from an early age that bullying shouldn’t be tolerated.

“I love talking about bullying to younger students because at their age, I don’t think they understand how bad bullying can be yet,” she said. “I like explaining it to them because you can get ahead of the game.”

Linville has been bullied because of the color of her skin and said educating young students may have an impact later on.

“I think they will know that bullying is bad and not to do it,” she said.

Galyean also shared incidents where she stood up to bullies that were bullying others.

“People need to know they can stand up to bullies,” she said.

At the end of their lesson, they gave out Lifesaver candies. The treats weren’t just another piece of candy, but had a meaning, Galyean said.

“I want them to know that each time they stand up to a bully, it could save a life,” she said.

She said bullying has been the root of multiple suicides and some school shootings across the country.

Roy agreed and said cyberbullying has made the situation worse when individuals are able to say things without having to face the people they’re bullying.

Hubbard said he felt the message was more effective coming from older students rather than teachers and administrators.

“I think elementary students will listen to the older boys and girls more than most,” he said. “This also enables our students to be in front of a group and learn good skills, public speaking and preparation.”