Belmont High sophomores sign up for anti-bullying effort

BELMONT — Belmont High School sophomores, many wearing orange to show their support for anti-bullying efforts, took a little time between classes Friday morning to sign an anti-bullying pledge on a wall near the school office which read ''The End of Bullying Begins Here.''
High School health teacher Laura Lavalle said that anti-bullying efforts are featured in her wellness class and that the orange sign was put up as part of national Anti-Bullying Month efforts.
''We're trying to get kids to think about how to deal with bullying and placing a special emphasis on cyber-bullying this year,'' said Lavalle, who added the national slogan for anti-bullying efforts is ''Make it Orange and Make it End!"
In 2011, Ellen DeGeneres promoted the cause on television by wearing orange and reminding millions of viewers about the importance of bullying prevention.
Lavalle said that eventually all of the students at the school will have an opportunity to take part kin anti-bullying efforts and that there will be special programs at the school during the week of Nov. 18-22, which Gov. Maggie Hassan has proclaimed as "anti-bullying" week in New Hampshire.
She and another faculty member and four or five Belmont High School students will be attending a ''Stand Up to Bullying'' event at the Whittemore Center at the University of New Hampshire on November 15.
Thousands of middle and high school students and teachers from across New Hampshire will come together for a one-day program to take a stand against all forms of bullying.
During the day, students will discuss the issue in a town meeting, hear from inspirational speakers, and caucus to exchange ideas and discuss action plans for their schools.
New Hampshire passed a widely praised anti-bullying law which was signed by Governor John Lynch in 2009. One of those who helped write the law was Dr. Malcolm Smith, youth and family education and policy specialist with UNH Cooperative Extension and extension associate professor in the family studies department.
Smith, a bullying expert is co-author and project director of the "Courage to Care" project through Cooperative Extension.


Belmont High School sophomore Alise Shuten signs an anti-bullying pledge at the school. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)