Two years ago, a 3rd grade student saw another student at DeSoto Central Elementary School being bullied on the playground. With the approval of his school principals, that student Andrew “Gus” Lafever launched an anti-bullying club at DeSoto Central Elementary School. In one week, he signed up more than 100 members.
Today this 5th grade student and key members of his committee hold all-school events and grade-level events. It has become the largest club on campus.
“Our upcoming event for 5th grade boys is about cyberbullying,’” he said. “A lot of interactive websites have chat rooms and some people feel like they can say anything.”
When Gus came up with the idea of this club, he met with administrators and shared his ideas on how students could help. He organized a committee with the original members being Emily Grace Billingsley, Reina Prince, and Avery Faulkner. Together they began designing posters, a logo, a Power Point presentation, goals, and plans for upcoming club events. The club continuously changes messages on the posters displayed around the school.
“From the very beginning, this club has been student-led,” said DCES Principal Lisa Nye. “Gus is a great example of seeing a problem that is a student problem and devising a plan to solve it.”
“Kids listen to other students before they listen to adults,” Gus said. “When one student stands up and says we need to respect each other, this makes more of a difference than all the adults put together.”