Last updated: July 24. 2013 2:23PM - 125 Views

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Wayne Allen

PDT Staff Writer

The Kiwanis Club of Portsmouth has taken a stand against bullying and did so with a recent presentation by club president John Johnson.

“The act of bullying is aggressive behavior, both mental and physical, that is repeated over time. Most bullying involves children and involves actions such as threats, rumors, exclusion and physical or verbal abuse,” Johnson said. “Bullying is not just limited to physical abuse, it is also happening online through social media. It is something that we, as a group, could aid in subsiding in our schools.”

Johnson said the club plans to ask the schools and the community what can be done by the club.

“One of the first things we have to do is seek out and find out what we can do,” Johnson said. “It’s always been identified the main group that you can work on this with is the bystanders. Any action by a bystander will typically shutdown a bullying episode.”

He said the Kiwanis Club of Portsmouth supports four Key Clubs, one at Portsmouth High School, East High School, Portsmouth West High School and Notre Dame High School.

“The Key Club is the high school version of Kiwanis. So, we want to get with them and get those individuals working with this project. As well as being outstanding students they can be the bystanders that helps shutdown a bullying episode,” Johnson said.

He said this program will focus on area high schools.

For the middle and elementary schools, Johnson said the club is exploring various activities that can be done within the schools to promote anti-bullying.

“One of the programs we’re looking at is called, ‘chalk for change.’ One of the students or a group of students would take chalk and there would be an area outside where they would be able to express themselves. We could purchase the chalk and provide it to the schools,” Johnson said. “We could not pay to have a speaker come into the schools, but if there are individuals within the area that would come a speak to an assembly of students, maybe Kiwanis could pay some travel expenses.”

He said the club is going to do what it can for area schools to reduce bullying.

“This is something that Kiwanis International — this is one of the things they emphasize. For me personally I wanted to have a pet project for my administrative year. Something that would be unique and something I could help facilitate. I know this was an issue for some time and an issue I though our club could take on,” Johnson said. “Sometimes we can’t always make a difference and I think this is a situation where I think we can make a difference.”

He said anyone in the community that’s interested in receiving help on this issue from the Kiwanis Club of Portsmouth can contact the club.

“The Kiwanis mission statement is: Changing the world one child and one community at a time. The goal of our project is to make a difference in the lives of many children. But even if we make a difference in the life of only one child, it will still be worth the effort. Education is the key,” Johnson said. “Our goal is for Portsmouth and the surrounding area is to facilitate a change, where students treat each other differently. Whatever we have to do to help bring that about is what we are going to do.”

Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or tallen@civitasmedia.com

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