LJH places first in nation in anti-bullying contest

PLYMOUTH — Back in November, when Lincoln Jr. High School teacher Amy Gerard had her students enter a contest using the online program Bullying Academy, she had no way of knowing that they would place first in the nation based on their test scores after going through the unit's content. But they did, and Friday the school held a celebration complete with a pizza party and a visit from Dr. Tony Bennett, head of Indiana Department of Education.
"We talked about how bullying has changed now that we have computers," said Gerard to the students. "Now you don't have to be face to face to bully someone."
Gerard continued, reminding the students how they used the Bullying Academy program to learn about different ways bullying had occurred in America's history.
Using the web-based program, the 7th and 8th grade students had spent several days talking about bullying and cyber-bullying, and then took a post-test to evaluate what they had learned. The 8th grade placed first, and the 7th grade placed second — out of all participating schools nation-wide.
Principal Dan Funston also took the stage Friday, congratulating the students on their accomplishment and emphasizing the importance of avoiding cyber-bullying.
"There were over 400 schools (in the contest) and I can't tell you how proud I am that our kids scored the highest in the nation," said principal Dan Funston to the students assembled.
Bennett also spoke to the students:
"Right here in Plymouth — right here at Lincoln — we not only have our state's leader when it comes to teaching kids about cyber-bullying, we also have our nation's leader," said Bennett. "That brings me as a state school superintendent a lot of pride. We talk a lot…about the academic stuff, but the truth is — for many students — they can't get to the academic stuff because of the stuff that's going on elsewhere in their lives because of cyber-bullying."
Bennett presented Funston with a trophy for the students achievement, and read a proclamation from Governor Mitch Daniels declaring March 11-17 Cyber-Bullying Awareness Week.

To see a video of LJH principal Dan Funston receiving the trophy on behalf of the students, go to www.thepilotnews.com or find the Pilot News on Facebook.