Local elementary school spreading kindness with new anti-bullying campaign

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MAX MEADOWS, Va. (WFXR) – October is National Bullying Prevention Month and Wythe County Public Schools are getting behind the launch of a new kindness campaign.

“It’s nice to watch them practice it and focus not just on the negative side, not just on bullying and the negative behaviors, but to focus on the positivity and how we can take something and spread it,” says M.J. Fogelsong, school counselor at Max Meadows Elementary school.

Bullying in schools continues to be a growing concern in schools across the country. According to PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, more than 1 out of every 5 students report being bullied.

Although bullying isn’t an issue among Wythe County schools, school officials understand how serious the problem is and how it can directly affect students’ ability to learn.

In observance of national anti-bullying awareness, the school district has started “Cool to be Kind”, a campaign that allows students to focus on spreading kindness to one another. Throughout the month of October, participating schools are competing against one another with their campaigns, and staff members at Max Meadows Elementary School are hoping they win.

On October 1, 2019, they kicked off their campaign by inviting members of the Wythe County Sheriff’s Department, Max Meadows Fire Department, Commonwealth Attorney Mike Jones, and Wythe County School board members to greet parents and students as they arrived for school Tuesday morning.

From writing Thank-You letters to performing Random Acts of Kindness PSAs on the school’s social media, students at Max Meadows are hoping to spread kindness throughout the entire community.

“They’re being more aware of their interactions and we’re talking in guidance class a lot about bullying and what that really is, what it looks like, what to do when you do see that, and the right things to do. Of course, we do this every year, so we’ve kind of been training them with what to do and who to tell and what it looks like but they’re really good at responding to that and encouraging each other,” says Fogelsong.

Along with the campaign, Wythe County Public Schools have launched “StopIt”, a new app that allows students to safely and anonymously report instances of bullyings, threats of violence, or self-harm.

School officials say they hope to continue their efforts to provide a positive and safe school environment for all of their students.

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