Anchorage middle school students host community summit on bullying
A group of Clark Middle School students are hosting a community summit focused on anti-bullying, and their goal is to eradicate bullying in Anchorage.
"We want to make sure that the Anchorage community is aware of bullying so we can have kids not feel like they're trapped in a corner," said eighth-grader Nahla White who is part of a group known as the Clark Informers.
The Clark Informers are library aides who travel around the community to educate others about important topics, holidays, observances and people.
"It's something that's formal, very professional and it's kind of like the face of Clark Middle School towards the community," White explained.
The students were awarded a $3,000 grant through the Spirit of Youth Bullying Prevention Campaign — a grant they applied for themselves — and have a special message for Anchorage about bullying.
"We just had to come up with an idea that stuck out, and that's where the whole like community summit came in, we were like, well, 'maybe instead of just creating t-shirts or wristbands with bullying messages, what if we have an event where people can come and learn?" White said.
The summit includes several panel discussions on the topic of bullying, including testimonials from students like Aaron Pascar, who says he's choosing his words carefully.
"We don't want to call people bullies because that gives them power," Aaron said, adding that he used to bully other students. "I thrived off of that, and I stopped because I realized how much it affects the other person."
As an Informer, he now chooses to empower others by sharing his experience with friends who've been targeted by bullies, like seventh-grader Emmanuel Mast.
"I don't know where he is today, but I hope he's changed as well as like Aaron," Emmanuel said of the student who used to bully him from pre-school through second grade. "If my friend hadn't stood up for me, I don't think I could have been right here right now."
Together, this group of teens is standing up and speaking out about bullying. They're hoping others in Anchorage will listen.
The Anti-Bullying Summit takes place at Clark Middle School on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will include appearances from the Anchorage Police Department and the Anchorage School Board.
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