NY National Guard helping to stop bullying

National Guard bullying

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A national training program is being offered at an area BOCES where they want every one of their students from the 31 districts it serves to “hear” one very important message.

The F. Donald Meyers Education Center teaches everything from computer technology to heavy equipment operation, but Tuesday’s topic they feel is something that every student should learn.

“It teaches what you can do to help others,” Sadie Morin, Junior at Cambridge Central School, said.

She talking about bullying and the H.E.A.R. training program administered by the state Army National Guard was created to help reduce it.

“It gives us a chance to say hey, this isn’t right this is not normal behavior and if you are experiencing it, there are people you can reach out to and ask for help,” Patricia Austin, Staff Sergeant and Recruiter at the Army National Guard, said.

At the same time, the program addresses the bullies too. Having the Guard teach it seems to be helping to reinforce that bullying will not be tolerated anyone, under any circumstances.

“When someone fresh comes in and says the same thing it really adds credibility to that message and it gets them thinking okay, more than one person is saying this is wrong so maybe I should rethink my action,” Austin said.

Though the students know that the program will not solve the problem completely, they all agree it is a step in the right direction.

“This sounds kind of strange to say, but I don’t think we are necessarily going to personally be able to stop it. I feel like that as we work together, it will be like a union to put an end to it,” Kaylie Vrooman, Junior at Saratoga Springs High School, said.

Nearly 600 students will have the potential to be a part of that union by the end of the week and instructors are hoping they will “hear” the message and pass it along.

“That’s the entire goal,” Austin said. “We know we can’t stop bullying all together but we sure as heck can try.”

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