Take Action Club aims to create new ways to handle bullying

| 15 Feb 2012 | 10:02

    During a recent visit back to Sparta, I had the chance to visit a new, up-and-coming club at Sparta High School with some friends. The Take Action Club is a group of high school students who wish to address the issue of bullying in and out of school. Instead of offering concrete answers to the issue, the group comes together to come up with thoughts toward the decrease of bullying. As there is no one, absolute answer to solve the bullying issue, the club hopes to offer help to students and focuses on dealing with bullying up front, rather than penalizing the offender for a period of time. Objectives of the Take Action Club are to engage victims of bullying and make them feel welcome, and to try and teach bullies what they are doing is wrong. Most importantly, the students in the club pointed out that students whom are neither bully victims nor bullies themselves should not turn a blind eye to the issue. The aim is to get these students to stand up to bullying and not allow it to occur. After sitting through the meeting, I was incredibly impressed with the level of maturity in the room as well as the passionate feeling that bullying has to be decreased and must eventually cease to exist. It is a hard challenge to take on, but as I said before, this group does not offer one solid answer for the problem. Brainstorming and analysis of the issue allow for a collected intelligence on how to deal with bullying. It should be remembered that above all else, these are high school students who see a problem and have the desire to find a solution. I personally believe this is one of the best and most influentially-capable clubs the school has to offer. The challenge of standing up to bullying pulls a number of outside factors, such as standing up to friends who are bullies or not helping a bully victim who you dislike. These are barriers that must be understood better, that it could be better to lose a friend than to let the bullying continue. It is decisions like these that can help alleviate a problem or provoke more unjust. Every student has the right to learn in a safe environment, without the threat being harassed simply because of looks or social status. The Take Action Club is headed by two Sparta High School juniors, Grant Hagedorn and Eric Smuda, along with club advisor Mrs. Catherine Reese. These individuals have a sense of righteousness that should be applauded with a stand-up ovation. As the club prepares to present itself in front of the Board of Education for recognition as an official club, I urge parents and school officials to look into this group of students and see what I have seen. These are not students who are looking to make themselves feel better or participating for acknowledgement on a resume. These are high school students who are looking for better ways to deal with the issue of bullying because they know it is the right thing to do. They show maturity far beyond their years, and I believe this cause is one worth fighting for. To the Sparta Board of Education, please understand what this group hopes to accomplish and recognize them as an official club. To high school students, middle school students, elementary school students, parents, teachers and school administration, I encourage you to support this club and to help become the solution to end bullying. I wish the Take Action Club the best of luck, and I look forward to working with all of you for the betterment of student life. For information about the club on Facebook, search Take Action and "like" the page. Matt Galley Sparta High School graduate