What started as an informative presentation turned into an emotional sore spot for Iola High juniors and seniors.
Thursday three seniors, Kayla Knavel, Paiton True and Chloe Friederich, gave a presentation on the awareness of bullying as a project for their Career and Community Connections and Early Childhood Development classes with Krystal Henderson.
The girls knew it would be a subject some wouldn’t take seriously and went into the presentation prepared.
“We know it is hard to listen about (bullying) from people who are only a year older than you,” Combs said. “But if you aren’t going to take this seriously get up and get out.”
Despite the warning there were still a few kids laughing and heckling.
The girls used two national examples of bullying.
The first, a girl from Michigan, Whitney Kropp, was nominated as homecoming queen as a prank from her peers.
She was able to turn the tables and with the support of her family, friends and community members she received a makeover and showed up to the homecoming game prideful.
The next story didn’t end as well.
Amanda Todd was a young high school student who made the mistake of showing her breast on camera once. An anonymous person got their hands on the picture and posted it on Facebook.
After years of tormenting, changing schools and being beat up, she decided to end her life.
She tried drinking bleach and overdosing on pills. Each time her parents rushed her to the emergency room and saved her life.
One day her parents were too late. They walked into her room to find their daughter dead. She had hung herself.
MANY students might think that problem doesn’t exist in the Iola community, but an informal poll conducted at Iola High says it is.
Sixty-six percent of the school population said they have been bullied. Fifty-two percent of the school population said they have bullied someone. Eighty-nine percent said they would stand up for someone and 67 percent said they would report bullying if they saw it.
Fifty-five percent of the Iola High student body said they believe bullying has become a problem at their school.
“Bullying is a problem in this school, whether you want to admit it or not,” Combs said.
“What’s it going to take for bullying in our school to stop,” Fredrich added. “Is it going to take someone killing themselves? How would have make you feel?”
By the end of the presentation three students had been asked to leave and the sound of sniffling noses filled the auditorium.
“We care. We might not get along with everyone, we don’t always see eye to eye, and after all we are human.” Combs said. “But if you need help we are here.”
Before the students left the seminar they were asked to sign a pledge to end bullying.