Herndon Middle School students gathered to Stomp Out Bullying last week with a number of special guests.
Members of the Drew Hall Step Team from Howard University, as well as the Herndon High School Step Team, performed on stage, sharing messages to help students Stomp Out Bullying. The Herndon Middle School Step Team opened up the show.
Principal Justine Klena said administrators decided two years ago they wanted to focus on bullying and educating students on how to deal with bullying. She said the goal was to focus on reducing the number of bullying incidents reported.
The school began with pledges and a week-long anti-bullying event. Last year students received bracelets and a speaker came to address the topic of bullying.
This year, with help from the Josh Anderson Foundation, administrators put together a show with area step teams and students received T-shirts.
Klena said the program helps provide students with knowledge on how to stop bullying when they see it happening. She said though bullying will never go away entirely, so far the program is working.
Often students think a joke that makes fun of a peer is funny and they don't understand when the joke is taken too far and it becomes bullying, Klena said.
"The awareness is important," Klena said. "They definitely feel empowered to address it and the step teams involvement makes it cool."
Lauren Anderson, of the Josh Anderson Foundation, said that's important to children and teens — giving them role models like the step teams.
"That's what you have to do with kids these days, is make it cool," she said.