Highlands students stage flash mob against bullying
SEBRING - More than 100 students gathered for a flash mob at the Highlands County Fair on Thursday in an effort to take a stand against bullying. The rain eased a bit around 5:30 p.m. when the event started near the Highlands Today Center with the mostly middle school students wearing neon green T-shirts with the #DeleteBULLYING Slogan. The students performed a choreographed dance to a recording of Jesse J's "Who Are You." Lake Placid Middle School sixth-grader Connie Chandler participated in the flash mob.She got involved through the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Alliance's "Go Girls" program, she said. Connie's mother, Mardi Chandler said, "I thought it was awesome, teaching the kids about bullying and working together and making everybody just see something they don't normally see in Highlands County. Highlands County Teen Pregnancy Prevention Alliance Coordinator Susie Buelow said, "With the rain and everything I was so happy this many kids showed up." The students wanted to do more with the flash mob, but the rain made it so hard, she said. Still it was a great event. The shirts and the reminder of being in the flash mob will make them look back on this as a positive effort against bullying. Project "Delete Bullying" is a joint project of the Heartland Rural Health Network, Drug Free Highlands and the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Alliance. The project began to provide the students a fun outlet for expressing their feelings about the bullying taking place at all of our Highlands County Schools, said Erica Douberley, program coordinator for the Heartland Rural Health Network. We have been working in collaboration with Avon Park Middle School, Lake Placid Middle School, Hill Gustat Middle School, Sebring Middle School, Walker Memorial Academy (6th – 12th grade) and Avon Park High School HOPE classes for the past two months on this campaign, she said. Some of the schools will be having an assembly in the coming months dedicated to the issue of bullying where students from their school who participated in the flash mob will get to perform it again in front of their whole school and do a short presentation afterwards, Douberley noted.
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