Hardin Valley students take a stand against bullying

(WBIR-Knoxville) After months of hard work and help from the Knoxville Police Department, students at Hardin Valley Academy launched nine videos to take a stand against bullying.

Students in a leadership class started Project U, and decided to tackle the growing issue after seeing KPD's billboards against bullying.

"We found that people had started programs after people had committed suicide and we kind of wanted to be a preventative measure here so that nothing like that would happen at Hardin Valley and to go on further and not happen in Knox County, as well," said Madalyn Neal, a junior.

Watch the PSA's and get more information on the WBIR Stop Bullying page

"The main goal for us is to just get rid of bullying. And there have been deaths in Knox County that have happened due to bullying so if we can help stop that, that means everything to us," said Matthew Gargis, also a junior.

Project U students teamed together to shed light on different forms of bullying, from clicks in the classroom to cyber bullying.

"Walking into class or being in class you see people with cut wrists, and you can't look away because you know something is going on that's making them do that," said Mary Elizabeth Dew, a junior. "I didn't know how big of an impact we would make on people, but seeing them, I really see they're going to make an impact and hopefully save a life."

Their teacher, Mrs. Dew, along with Captain Bob Woolridge, with KPD's Safety Education Unit, said they are proud of the students' dedication to making a difference.

"I'm so, so proud of each and every one of you," said Dew.

"I really believe this is going to get the message out there," said Woolridge.

Woolridge said the partnership between KPD and Knox County Schools will continue, in hopes of expanding Project U into middle schools.

"I'll tell you what, this has been one of the most exciting campaigns we've ever done," said Woolridge. "Bullying occurs more than we know because of cyber bullying."

Woolridge said one goal of the campaign is to encourage students who are being bullied or who witness someone else being bullied, to come forward.

"We want to reach out to these students and let them know it's ok to report it. It's ok to let a teacher, a parent, a school resource officer, any of us, WBIR folks know, and we'll take it from there," said Woolridge.

Thursday, Project U students were able to watch the nine public service announcements for the first time since filming was completed.

"It's amazing, this is not something someone gets to do every day," said Neal." We just really want everyone to accept each other and really just unite together."

Mobile and iPad users can copy and paste this link into their browser to get more information and resources on how to stop bullying: http://www.wbir.com/local/stop-bullying/


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