Today is World Day of Bullying Prevention.
That’s why you may notice a lot of people wearing blue, especially in schools.
Students and staff at every Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch in the state are participating today, this week, and all month long in activities to prevent bullying.
KX News spoke to a student at Dakota Memorial School who hopes the focus on bullying prevention will stick with every student forever.
“I’m glad to be alive today because I can see my self worth now,” said Laura Price, a senior at Dakota Memorial School.
Just a few years ago, she didn’t feel so glad. Classmates spread rumors about her and put her down so much that she felt helpless.
“I went to school for a day and the bullying was just so bad that I had to leave school halfway through the day,” she said. “I didn’t go back for a week.”
She’s come a long way since then. She said its thanks to several people in her life that showed her she’s more than what the bullies made her feel she was.
One of those people is the school counselor, Lauren Ballantyne, who was also bullied when she was in school.
“I remember how alone I felt and how much I hurt inside, and I think about that with our kids her,” said Ballantyne. “I don’t want them to get anywhere close to feeling like that.”
Now, she helps students like Laura.
Laura’s been able to focus more in school.
She’s had straight As for the past two years and is gearing up for college next year to pursue a nursing degree, which is something she never expected.
“I never really had any goals and stuff like that when I was younger,” she said. “Now, I just want to help people.”
And she is. She’ll be sharing her story with all of Dakota Memorial School this month so that she can teach them this: “It’s just not worth bullying people. Like, if you don’t feel good about yourself, go to someone and talk to someone about it.”
A recent study at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch found that 86% of students have been bullied, and 70% of students have bullied someone else.
That’s why the ranch is hosting bullying-prevention efforts all week.
Everyone will wear blue today, wear boots tomorrow to ‘stomp out bullying’ and things like that each day to follow.
The goal is to change those statistics so that no student is a bully or gets bullied.