MADISON (WKOW)-- A youthful perspective is helping Dane County board members tackle the ongoing issue of bullying in our schools. They're asking twelve students in their Youth Governance Program to take a deeper look at the issue. The program was started in 2012 to give local students a voice in community politics.
"Bullying is bad enough when it's just face to face, but now kids feel like they can hide over a computer or text message and get away with it," Youth Governance Program member Blair Karlsson Ellifson says.
Karlsson Ellifson is a Senior at La Follette High School. She and eleven other Dane County students make up this year's Youth Governance Program. She has seen the emotional damage bullying can cause, experiencing it herself and seeing several friends bullied at school.
"That was the hardest thing for me because I didn't want to say anything. I really feel like kids should have a way that they can report bullying without feeling like they will be targeted again because they said something," Karlsson Ellifson says.
Over the past few weeks Karlsson Ellifson has spent countless hours researching what other counties and cities have done to solve the issue. Together with Dane County Board Vice Chair Carousel Bayrd they wrote a proposal to give the students in the Youth Governance Program the power to research the issue further and make official recommendations to the county board.
"We're going to go to the youth group and say tell us about your experience with bullying," Bayrd says. "They know it first hand. They can speak volumes much more than we ever could."
The rest of the board members agreed by unanimously passing the motion in Thursday night's meeting. They're allowing the group of students to meet once a month until January. They will then give their official recommendations to the county board about how they should approach this issue of bullying in our schools.
"I really feel like this is not only going to help people here, but it's going to hopefully lead the way so other counties and other places can do things like this to prevent and stop bullying," Karlsson Ellifson says.
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