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Student leaders learn to stand up to bullies in social media age

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Students Taking A Right Stand Students Taking A Right Stand

More than a hundred Hamilton County high schoolers teamed up Thursday to end bullying.

Students Taking A Right Stand, or STARS, spent the entire day teaching teens how to be a positive influence in a hallway of bullies by equipping them with the knowledge needed to support students being bullied.

STARS Director Karen Glenn said bullying has changed a lot in the digital age. Much of the name calling is no longer face-to-face in the lunch room and hallways. She said a lot of it is done anonymously over the computer on social media.

And Lookout Valley Senior Emily Frizzell has seen enough of the cyber bullying.

"Bullying is really getting to the point where it's bad," she said. "We're having a lot of online bullying at schools and it really needs to stop."

Frizzell is teaming up with 130 other students, many of whom she's never met, for a full day of role play, learning to stand their ground and help those who can't.

You name the social media site. Chances are, a bully has found a way to harass and intimidate.

"I've seen people delete their Facebook because people just get on their page and bully them," said 16-year-old Ron Sexton.

"It's not in the guidelines of the school. It's at night, on the weekend. But those issues do come to school," Glenn said,

Glenn said the easy access to smartphones and social media means bullying isn't just in the schoolyard. It now carries over to home. And that, she said, makes Thursday's lesson all the more important.

"We want to show them what to do so they can support someone who may feel alone,' she said.

Red Bank Senior Autumn Babb said the best advice for kids needing support is to branch out.

"If you feel like you're getting bullied and there's no one to talk to... There's always an adult, parent, student. Just branch out. Don't feel like you have no one because there's always someone there," Babb said.

The students participating in Thursday's day-long seminars and group meetings were from the following high schools: Red Bank, Hixson, Sequoyah, Lookout Valley, Central, Brainerd and East Ridge.

LEARN MORE | Hamilton County STARS program

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