Students at Lombard Junior High School in Galesburg created a club to lessen the impact of bullying. Seventh grader Katie Dunbar came up with the idea for the "Take A Stand Club." Dunbar said she's well acquainted with the stress caused by being bullied.
“I was left out a lot. And I was cyberbullied. Like girls would make statuses about me. And when I was left out, these girls would just leave me out of the group and push me away and call me names and stuff,” Dunbar said.
Other students in the club said they were bullied for their looks, or suffered through other forms of aggression from peers. Dunbar said one goal of the group is to help students who have been bullied feel like they have a friend and someone who has their back.
The "Take A Stand Club" has nine members. Students who want to join it must apply, have good grades, have a good discipline record, and show why they want to be part of the group. Teachers advise and mentor the club during its meetings.
Dunbar said the group is currently only for 7th graders. But she would like to expand it to 6th and 8th graders in the future, as well as have other Galesburg schools look into starting their own club.
Lombard principal Nick Sutton feels the group's impact is greater because it was created by students and is run by students rather than teachers or the administration.
“It’s easy to get buy-in from kids because they understand this is coming from their peers, it’s not coming from the top down,” Sutton said.
Sutton said there has been a decrease this school year in office referrals, especially for bullying. He credits the "Take A Stand Club."