Hoping to stop bullying in schools, the Evarts Police Department began an anti-bullying program at Evarts Elementary School on Monday.
Speaking with children in Debbie Nicely’s class, officers John Teagle and William Clogston encouraged students to tell teachers or parents if someone bullies them.
“If someone is calling you names or pushing you around, you need to tell someone,” said Clogston. “No one should be subjected to that kind of behavior.”
Clogston said he enjoys being able to spend time in schools to let children know “policemen are their friends.” Water bottles engraved with “Policemen are your friends” were given to each student, along with a wristband reminding everyone to stop bullying.
“Children need to know bullying will not be tolerated anymore,” said Clogston. “If a child is suffering abuse from bullying, they need to know there is help if they will just tell someone about the bullying.”
Clogston said he and Teagle are planning more programs for the older children on cyber-bullying and synthetic drugs now being abused.
“We just want to try and make a difference and help these children choose the right path instead of a wrong path on down the road,” said Clogston. “A lot of kids who bully other kids end up getting into more serious trouble down the road, possibly even jail and prison. If we can talk to them now and maybe say something that will change their outlook, it may save them years of pain and suffering down the road.”
Teagle said he previously worked as a school resource officer while employed with the Harlan County Sheriff’s Office. He said he missed having the opportunity to help children on a day-to-day basis.
“It makes a difference when kids can see you in the schools and know that you are their friend — there to help them, not hurt them,” said Teagle. “Synthetic drugs, such as fake marijuana, are on the rise and kids need to know these things are very dangerous and even deadly. Bullying has become a dangerous habit also, causing some kids to commit suicide because they were being bullied. It’s time to put these things to a stop and that’s what officer Clogston and I are trying to do.”
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