Claflin Foundation awards anti-bullying grant

Agnes Hapka

December 21, 2013

POINT PLEASANT — The Robert and Louise Claflin Foundation has awarded a $1,200 grant to Point Pleasant High School to help with a new anti-bullying program.

The program, called Rachel’s Challenge, is named for a victim of the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School, Colo.

Initially, student Kamille Bonecutter approached principal Bill Cottrill about the possibility of implementing such a program at PPHS. When he agreed, school counselors Kim Parsons and Tiffany Hersman began to work on a grant proposal earlier this year.

“I thought it was a really great idea, and I’m excited because it’s actually happening,” Bonecutter said.

Parsons said that the program is designed to “create a culture of kindness.”

The program will begin with some activities on January 13, 2014, during and after school hours.

“We’ll have two assemblies that day at the school,” she said. “Then we’ll take around a 100 students and do a special training with them to help keep the momentum going so we can see the change we’re looking for.”

On the evening of the same day, Parsons added, a community event will be held at the school.

“We’ll start that evening here at the high school at 6:15 p.m. with light refreshments,” she said. “We’ll have a program at 6:30 p.m., and everyone is invited to that.”

Parsons said that she does see a lot of conflict between students at the school, and hopes that the information gained through the program will help with an outreach effort.

“We hope that it gives us a foundation we can use to talk to students,” Parsons said, “and that it gives us the tools for an ongoing effort to help students, and gives us something to refer back to. We want everyone to feel safe here so they can acheive their goals.”

“We’re excited about it,” Parsons said.