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Students help students tackle bullying, violence with program

Rule has seen violence in her own school, which is why she said WAVE was so beneficial.

"I have seen violence a lot in school, just kids and their language and walking around the hallways screaming at each other," said Rule. "I definitely think [WAVE] is a great program and it teaches a ton of kids, a lot."

For her session with the sixth graders, Rule said she hopes to put on a skit so the information lingers in their minds longer.

"They can think back to the scenarios that you do," said Rule.

Antonio Bianchi said he took away valuable ways of dealing with stress, a situation he was all too familiar with at the beginning of the school year.

"I learned that there's a lot of different ways to manage your stress and many different ways to stop from a violent situation or bullying situation from happening," said Bianchi. "I've definitely seen stress and had a lot of stress and everything they said definitely helped me cope through."

Bianchi said if someone is being bullied, it's not good to get involved. A prevention step is to try to distract the bully or victim and encourage them to leave the situation or do something else. Just saying "stop" helps too.

"I've definitely seen people be bullied and things they said I have seen work in action," said Bianchi.

WAVE made learning about serious and often confusing topic, interesting and fun.

"I know everyone who went had a lot of fun and it was better than sitting in the classroom and learning about it," said Bianchi.

He's looking forward to sharing what he learned with his younger peers and thinks they will reach more and listen better if fellow students are teaching them.

"I'd like to get across that when they first get here, they're intimidated by the older kids and all this stuff they can go to their guidance counselor, their principal, to talk and won't be known as the person who likes to tattle on people," said Bianchi. "They'll see we're there to support them and we're not intimidating or scary like they might think we are."

According to information from the school district, the program focuses on the development of communication skills, diversity and tolerance, anger management, bullying and cooperation.

"Providing opportunities for students to learn how to teach their peers problem solving and conflict resolution is a positive and powerful way to reinforce the skills necessary to deal with conflicts peacefully," said Laurel Logan-King, Ballston Spa's coordinator of counseling K-12.

The training for WAVE was hosted at State Farm Insurance Company's office in Malta and supported by a health and wellness grant the company provided the distr

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