Five Lauderdale County High School students were given the honor of presenting at the International Bullying Prevention Association conference in San Diego, California. These students were selected for this opportunity based on the work they have done within their own schools and presentations at other schools in Tennessee and Kentucky to provide awareness about bullying and teaching other students how to improve their school culture by demonstrating empathy and kindness for all.
Lauderdale County is one of three counties in Tennessee who were awarded the AWARE grant by the Tennessee Department of Education. Through this grant, Lauderdale County Schools has worked collaboratively with STARS Nashville to incorporate practices of MOVE2STAND into the daily lives of both Ripley High School and Halls High School. MOVE2STAND is an interactive training program of STARS that challenges students to examine their attitudes toward bullying. Students from both high schools have worked with MOVE2STAND over the last two years to provide training to not only students at all schools in Lauderdale County, but also with schools in other counties. Last year, following the school shooting at Marshall County High School in Benton, Kentucky, representatives from both schools delivered a box with positive messages from students at both Lauderdale County High Schools to show support for their students. The AWARE program in Lauderdale County is led by Lindsey Smith.
The five students and three sponsors traveled from Lauderdale County to San Diego for the conference. The students worked with Eric Johnson, Vice President of MOVE2STAND to prepare their presentations. The sessions included educators and researchers from around the world. These five students led activities that challenged the participants to examine their attitudes toward bullying and to take this message back to their schools and community. Additionally, their message included the importance of student voice within a school or community to create a positive culture.
In addition to presenting at the conference, the students were afforded the opportunity to visit Los Angeles, Hollywood, and La Jolla Cove. The schools would like to thank Lauderdale County Bank, Bank of Halls, and Hurt Seed Company for donating additional funds that allowed students to experience and explore the San Diego area when they were not working at the conference.