By SRO Kjell Michelsen

The month of October is the National Bullying Prevention Month, and of the many things I work with at Unicoi County High School, bullying is one issue that I am passionate about.

It’s also one of the harder problems to tackle, first and foremost because of social media. Often when school administrators and I are made aware of instances where bullying has or is taking place, we find out that this has been going on for a while, and what often brings it to the surface is falling grades, skipping school altogether or causing “behavioral issues” in school or at home.

Because of the seriousness around bullying, especially cyberbullying, the SADD Club has partnered with the National Stomp Out Bullying campaign, and during the week of Oct. 8 many of our SADD Club members will be wearing their blue Student Strong-Stump Out Bullying Now T-shirts and will have handout materials to raise awareness around this issue.

I am a firm believer that the most active partners I have on this and many other matters relating to high school students and the problems and challenges they often face are the students themselves.

All these issues and campaigns the SADD Club is working and engaged with are not all free. We get some free stuff from the organizations and causes we are promoting, but as every teacher knows, and certainly likewise for my SRO colleagues and others in law enforcement, sometimes one has to pay out of pocket for many things that otherwise are not available from your employer.

To raise money for our club, I decided to create a Facebook page called, “Officer Norway’s Corner.” With the great help of a local business, Reds Vinyl Decals, we designed a logo, got it printed on some T-shirts, hoodies and coffee mugs, and through the Facebook page and on our upcoming stand at the Apple Festival we hope to raise some much-needed money for our club. Check out our SADD Club stand at the Apple Festival this coming weekend (Oct. 5-6) and help support a great cause.

Until next time, be safe, be kind and be positive.