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Students help students tackle bullying, violence with program

Twenty-nine eighth graders at Ballston Spa Middle School are bullying bullying. And in the spring, they're going to teach their sixth grade peers how to do the same.

The group of anti-bullying middle schoolers were chosen by guidance counselors and teachers to take part in the first WAVE Program at the school. In collaboration with the Prevention Council, Working Against Violence Everywhere is a life skills program that uses team building and problem solving activities to interactively teach students about all types of violence, origins of it and how to deal with various situations.

"I learned a lot. I learned how to prevent violence and just a lot of different great tips on how to help everyone," said Sydney Rule, who said she was nominated because of her good grades and leadership traits.

Rule said the WAVE program was split into two days that focused on talking about violence, how to prevent it and where it comes from.

"We took some notes, every no and again we'd play a game, and the main focus was whether it was learned behavior or you were born with it," said Rule. "You can't really tell the difference between the two. I learned that everyone picks it up somewhere in life because it's all around you."

The most surprising thing Rule learned over the two days, and the message she feels is most important to share with sixth graders, is that people aren't born violent.

"I thought it could be hereditary; if someone had anger management problems in the family they would just be born with it," said Rule.

Dealing with a violent situation can be quite simple, said Rule. She said to take deep breaths and think about everything positive and the good things happening in life.

"Think that you can overcome anything and it'll all be OK in the end," said Rule. "We talked about how sometimes it can be physical but most of the time it's usually just with speech."

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