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Greenback teens hold 'blackout' against bullying

12:01 AM, Jan 12, 2013   |    comments
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What began as a class project for two Greenback High School juniors, ended with a school-wide discussion about how students treat one another.

As part of the project, Madi Spencer designed a survey administered to Greenback middle and high school students.

More than 60% reported they felt bullied in school.

For Madi the desire to talk about the problem started with a personal experience.

She's a teen mom. The high school junior had a daughter 10 months ago.

"After, I started getting text messages," says Spencer. She says other girls would harass her and call her names. "I felt horrible. I just didn't want to come to school."

Devin Plemons helped organize Friday's events. The girls kicked the day off with a school assembly featuring guests speakers on the effects of bullying before breaking off in to school groups led by mental health professionals.

Later, students were offered pledges to sign, promising to help end bullying.

Students were asked to attend that evening's basketball games dressed in black, one of their school's colors, to help build awareness about bullying at school.

"I know it won't stop bulling," says Spencer. "There will always be bullying. But I'm hoping there will be less."

"It taught me to be a better person. Whenever I see someone being bullied that I can help them," says Plemons.

The girls will put together a portfolio summarizing their efforts and present it at the regional Health Occupations Students of America competition in Roane County on February 1st.

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