WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published October 06, 2010, 09:41 PM

Class Gives GF Students Tools To Fight Bullying

Conflict resolution is just one of the subjects a group of area fifth graders are learning about in a two-day workshop.

By: Brady Mallory , WDAZ

Conflict resolution is just one of the subjects a group of area fifth graders are learning about in a two-day workshop.

Grand Forks Public Schools says this class is a way to be proactive when it comes to bullying.

On Tuesday WDAZ featured a story about this topic which is getting a lot of national attention. After the suicides of six teenage boys who were bullied for being gay, WDAZ looked at how bullying is handled in Grand Forks Schools.

The district says capping the problem starts with educating young students.

"I think it means to help people out and have a good reputation at your school for stopping things that are bad," said Kelly Elementary School Fifth Grader, Cassidy Mindeman.

She takes her role as a student leader very seriously. Especially when it comes to bullying.

"Because it could just get bigger and influence lots of kids to be as bad as the people who are already being bad, " said Mindeman.

Fifth graders from Kelly, Lake Agassiz, West and Wilder Elementary Schools are learning how to address and prevent negative situations.

School faculty chooses representatives for the class to help transform these young students into leaders.

"I thought there could be big changes at our school that could make our school a better place to learn. I just wanted to help," said Jamil Suleiman, a fifth grader from Lake Agassiz Elementary School.

Conflict resolution, leadership and listening skills are three very basic tools that have a big impact as these kids get older.

"We want to be able to teach them coping skills so when life happens they can cope with situations as they come," said Ginny Blake, a licensed counselor for Grand Forks Public Schools.

Grand Forks Public Schools has used this workshop for two years. According to Blake, the program has been around in North Dakota for twenty. Helping students make good choices, talk to adults when there's a problem and understanding different types of people.

At a young age, this type of education goes a long way when it comes to bullying.

"The next step is, ok, what do you do about that? How do you own that, resolve that. How can you help someone through it. How can you say we don't do that in our school?" said Blake.

By being positive influences to their peers, these student leaders help spread the message.

"Not everything can be fixed with one person," said Suleiman. Mindeman said the things she has learned today are helping everyone for tomorrow.

"We're learning how to stop things before they happen".