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National No Name Calling Week is January 23 through 27 and bullying prevention is something STARS works to combat daily in our important interactions with students, teachers and families. Below is a recent column submitted by an area student who has worked hard to overcome this huge issue with the help of STARS. If you or anyone you know needs help, please contact us today at 615-279-0058.

                If asked if you think bullying is a big issue in schools across the nation, people would say “no” because typically, bullying isn’t seen as depicted in movies and books. People think of bullying as physical, but there is more to it. With today’s technological advances, bullying also occurs online throughout social media. It is sometimes easy to forget that bullying is also verbal and expressive. 

                Bullying today has become a big issue. Throughout schools, there are many students being bullied without reason. People are glared at, cussed at, threatened, etc.  While bullying certainly occurs inside the school, it is often worse outside the school. The fact that so many people use social media, allows them to spread the bullying online and through text.

                There are groups that try to prevent bullying and are there to support people when they need help. These programs can be found throughout schools across the nation and even in the Nashville area. One of these programs is called “STARS” (Students Taking A Right Stand).  It was established in schools throughout the mid-state to work with students in all grade levels. They increase the awareness of drugs, abuse, grief, violence, and bullying.  STARS is there to listen and provide support to students, parents, and teachers on a variety of topics.

                 STARS host a JMR conference in Nashville every year where schools from around the mid-state meet and teach students about bullying and the prevention of this terrible act. Attendees’ role play and experience a replication of bullying first-hand.  As an attendee, my favorite activity is “cross the line” where there is a line of tape across the floor and we all stand on one side. They call out reasons why you are bullied and if it applies to you, you step across the line. This is the most powerful activity because when it is just you, you think you are the only one, but seeing so many other people “cross the line” puts it into a different perspective. 

                I’ve been in STARS since middle school and have dealt with some things that I wouldn’t have been able to overcome without them. The fact that someone is there to listen and give advice means a lot to someone who is going through so much. I’ve gone in to talk to a STARS counselor and left with great advice. People probably think, “Why would I talk to someone about these things because they couldn’t understand how I feel?”  Many of the STARS counselors have experienced challenges in their personal lives. So, when they say they understand, they really do!  It seems tough at first, but you feel better when you’re done. They don’t judge you for what you are dealing with because they truly understand, which is good for people our age as judgment is such a huge issue.

                From my own experience and from others I have heard from, STARS is an awesome program   provided for students. People don’t realize how many people actually use the program and the positive affect it has on students. I don’t know what many students would do without STARS.

Submitted by a Middle Tennessee Student

STARS is deeply committed to creating a culture and work space that centers on the power of relationships, that values diversity of perspective and experience, and that honors the dignity, worth, and contributions of all.