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Program Teaches Girls To Stand Strong Against Bullying

OAK PARK (WWJ) - Standing up and standing strong against bullying -- that's the message for a group of girls at one Ferndale Public School.

It's Girls Stand Strong, an anti-bullying program for girls in 4th through 6th grade at Kennedy Elementary School.

"The girls will learn about how to stand up to bullies, how to avoid becoming a bully themselves, how to become a good friend and to make sure they're finding good friends, and just different ways to help cope with different feelings that come along when you're bullied," says Lauren Kloss with Ferndale Youth Assistance, which is facilitating the program.

She says, "I teach them what I call back-pocket comments, where they learn one-liners of things to say when someone's teasing them. For example, if they're teasing them about their clothes, they can say something like, 'Well I don't dress for you, sorry' -- and just shrug it off and walk away. So they're still being assertive, they're standing up for themselves, they're not allowing themselves to be run over."

11-year-old sixth grader Lauren Morgan is part of the after-school program and she knows exactly what to do if she encounters a bully.

"I'll try to talk to them and say knock it off or stop, but if that doesn't happen I'll have to go to the school or anybody really close to me that can understand, and try to get them to make it stop," says Morgan.

And Morgan is anxious to learn a lot more.

"It's gonna be fun. So I can learn; since I'm going to the middle school next year and I know that there's probably gonna be bullying there, I'm pretty sure there is. So with this group, I can know what to do if it ever happens to one of my friends, family members or anything."

Thursday's meeting was the first of four after-school sessions. A number of schools have carried the anti-bullying program, including schools in Southfield and Rochester Hills.

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