WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published January 15, 2014, 07:09 PM

Discovery students making new friends to reduce bullying

Fargo, N.D. (WDAY TV) -A unique program at Discovery Middle School in Fargo is teaming up the "best" with the "best."

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

Fargo, N.D. (WDAY TV) -A unique program at Discovery Middle School in Fargo is teaming up the "best" with the "best."

The project is called PAVE. Peer Advocates - Voices Empower. It pairs special ed. students with regular education students at Discovery and it is hoped the project will take root throughout the school.

The lunchroom at Discovery today, looked and sounded more like a locker room. It was all about team work and looking out for each other.

Today, 14-year-old Jamieson McVicar, a new peer advocate at Discovery, got to meet his team-mate, a special ed. student here. As part of a new state grant, Jamieson and other leaders on the PAVE team will help become the voices for their new friends, special ed. kids, who can often fall victim to bullying and teasing.

Jamieson McVicar, Discovery student: “I can help with other students and say hey, what if you were in that situation. How would you feel about yourself.”

A good problem for Discovery, the school had to turn down regular ed. students who wanted to be part of the team, so they hope to expand this next year.

Jenny Storslee, special education teacher: “We had great experiences in the past with these kids stepping up and being involved and we are looking for more of that.”

Eight grader Taylor Zetocha will be one of the peer advocates. She has stood back and thought about what it would be like to walk down the school hallways daily in the shoes of those who have disabilities.

Taylor Zetocha, Discovery student: “We are all alike, academic, whether or not we look alike, we are all human.

The students chosen as peer advocates were not necessarily the jocks and popular kids, but students who had compassion for others.

There are similar projects in Minot and Bottineau.