Group goes 'Above and Beyond' to stop bullying in schools
WALKER COUNTY, GA (WRCB) -- A nationally recognized organization is taking an 'out-of-the-box approach' when it comes to stopping bullies in schools.
Friday, the 'Above and Beyond' group paid a visit to LaFayette High School in Walker County.
The group travels from school to school using everything from slam dunk teams to karate to capture the short attention span of teens.
Their message? They want teens to live "above and beyond" all the hate and bullying in schools.
Most hallways are filled with students who can relate to the same issues.
"You've got the peer pressure. You've got the pressure to be popular. The pressure to be liked," says LaFayette High Principal Mike Culberson.
That is where the Above and Beyond crew comes in.
"We're all about inspiring students to live their life to the full. That's why we call it 'Above and Beyond,'" says Ken Mahan with the group.
Mahan helps run Above and Beyond. The program, based at Tennessee Temple University, recruits teens to join the effort of spreading the message to stop bullying in schools.
They use their skills, in this case, mad dunking skills, to reach out to youth in need.
"Everyone of our students here have either been bullied or have been a bully," says Mahan.
Culberson says nowadays the big challenge is stopping bullying with social networking.
"Now when they're thinking inappropriately and they post something, it's not just between me and you, or that person the other individual. It's out there for the whole world to see," says Culberson.
"A lot of people think that bullying is just physical. It's really psychological too. In fact, a psychological bully is much worse than a physical bully if you think about it," says Deangelo, a volunteer and member of the dunk team.
He says that is why he and other volunteers, through a little entertainment and encouragement, hope to make a big difference for those who need it.
"They're going to be more productive workers when they're happy. Students are going to be more productive students when they're happy. And it's all about creating the right atmosphere," says Culberson.
The program has been around since 1978 and made its way to the Tennessee Valley two years ago.
Since then they have gone to several schools throughout our region. The local group meets every Saturday at Camp Joy in Harrison.