According to the U.S. Department of Education more than 13 million students are bullied each year.
Of those, approximately 160,000 kids stay home from school each day to avoid being bullied.
That's why a new anti-bullying campaign is being placed in dozens of Kern County schools in an attempt to stomp out bullying and try to end the violence and sadness that our schools have seen in the case of Tehachapi High School's Seth Walsh and the recent shooting at Taft High School.
On Wednesday, Feb. 13, the State Farm Youth Advisory Board awarded the Safe School Ambassadors bullying prevention program $74,000 to support it's newest anti-bulling campaign --"Waking Up Courage."
More than 40 Kern County schools participate in the program, with Tehachapi High School being amongst the newest cadre of teams that began their yearlong training in November.
Each team is made up of six students and one adult who are committed and trained to lead the campaign at each school site.
Tehachapi High School psychologist Wade Barrett, is heading up the effort locally.
"I am very excited about our involvement and commend Traci Minjares for working with Daryl Thiesen at Kern County Superintendent of Schools in getting our district involved," said Tehachapi Unified School District Superintendent Lisa Gilbert. "Wade has done a great job in working with the staff and students. This will give our students an opportunity to be actively involved in promoting positive messages and I look forward to seeing the final product."
Safe School Ambassadors are trained to intervene when they witness bullying, harassment, or other types of mistreatment and are responsible for creating safer schools by educating their peers, school staff and community members.
Specifically, teams will be transforming their schools and community through social media, assemblies, parent workshops, professional development and a youth forum.
"The grant from the State Farm Youth Advisory Board offers a tremendous service opportunity for young people to make their schools and communities safer," said Community Matters' Executive Director Rick Phillips. "Through the Waking Up Courage Campaign, they are becoming citizens for life that will remain involved in the betterment of their communities."
For more information about the Safe Schools Ambassadors program, log onto www.safeschoolambassadors.org
Additional Kern County anti-bullying resources can be found at www.kernstopbullying.org.