The Bullying Prevention/Protection Support (BPPS) Club at Red Mountain High School in Mesa is dedicated to supporting those who are currently or have ever been bullied, as well as spreading bullying awareness around campus. Started by a small group of friends who underwent an experience with bullying last year, the club’s intent is to provide a guiding and companionable hand to those who need one.
“As a freshman, I was occasionally thrown in trash cans and had salads thrown at me during lunch,” junior and vice president Lily Scott said. “It was some sort of hazing but didn’t finish until after sophomore year. I came to my friends about it last year and that’s how the club began, to help others in the same situation I was going through.”
First-hand experience of what being bullied feels like gives the club an empirical touch. Many kids grow up being told by adults what to do or how to feel about these situations when students who have been in their shoes have more empathy and experience involving the topic.
“Hundreds of thousands of kids get bullied a day and have nowhere to go or have no one to turn to,” senior and club president Mya King said. “Just having an environment where someone can feel safe and get help is more important than anyone may have considered it to be before.”
The club’s atmosphere remains warm and secure, where anyone can be assured to feel at home. They welcome new members with open arms and make guests feel comfortable.
“Every week I am excited to go and feel the positive energies, to make people laugh, to listen to people speak and to support those who cry,” senior and club member Ashley Shinault said. “We are working hard to come up with a way to have a day once a month where we stay after school for a couple of hours to watch movies, eat food and just provide an escape to those who need it or want it.”
On Tuesdays after school in Room 320, the club holds a “safe place” meeting where they dedicate time to talk to anyone who feels bullied at school, needs to talk or would just like to get away from home for an hour or two. They even have assigned members of the club to counsel those who need to talk to someone but prefer it be someone closer to their age range rather than an adult.
“The after-school safe place meetings are a place to come and let it all out,” Shinault said. “Our other meetings are usually about upcoming events and our plans as a club, so we have a safe place so there is time for members and non-members to share their problems, while giving us time to help find solutions.”
The club plans on holding monthly bake sales and activities to aid and spread the word of the BPPS club. One unique feature of these activities is that half of the proceeds from any event will be donated to an anti-bullying charity and the other half being used for club events.
“It is important to provide a space for students to go to when they feel lost or just want a break from their day-to-day routine,” senior and club treasurer Isabella DeFine said. “I have known many people who could have used support and a place to go so I want that to be available for whoever needs and wants it.”
The BPPS club is a new and significant addition to the Red Mountain campus. Spreading a positive message and being supportive to those who need it can make the campus a safer place for students. Meetings take place Mondays before school, Tuesdays after school and Fridays during Lion Time. For more information on the BPPS Club, visit teacher Karilee Ovalle in Room 320.
– Michaela Brown is a senior at Red Mountain High School in Mesa.