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Junction City firefighters launch program to end bullying in schools

firefighter junction city.jpg
junction city firefighter.jpg
Posted at 5:00 PM, Jun 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-08 18:18:01-04

A group of volunteer firefighters in Boyle County are answering another call — this time it's to stop bullying in schools.

“Firefighter is not just a title,” said David Stevens, a longtime firefighter at the Junction City Fire Department. “It's not just a name in front of your actual name. A firefighter is someone who goes out into your community and helps people in their time of need.”

That’s obvious from the cards hanging on the wall at the fire station, each one from a child who was inspired by their interaction with the local heroes. That impact is why the department is taking their anti-bullying message inside schools in Boyle County. “Firefighters Against Bullying” started in Pennsylvania, but 19-year-old firefighter Abigail Thomas wants to bring the movement to Kentucky.

“I went through a lot of bullying growing up,” Thomas told LEX 18. “Not just at Danville High School, but anywhere I went. I was one of those kids that thought going to teachers would make it worse. So I know how it feels to not feel like you have anywhere to go.”

She said the volunteer firefighters will talk to classes, organize assemblies, and mentor kids, starting at the elementary school. They’ll focus not only on bullying prevention but teaching kids how to respond when it happens.

“This way, they’ll have an outside resource,” she said.

Stevens echoed the need for a safe space for children.

“Building a rapport with the kids, so that we can have them comfortable coming up to us and talking to us,” he said.

According to Stevens, they’ve already spoken with school leaders in the area to get the ball rolling on the project, which should start up this fall. Now they just need parents’ help.

“Talk to your kids about it, get them excited,” he said. “We had a career day, kind of a launch campaign, at the local elementary school. And the kids loved it. They love us to death right now, so we hope to build on that.”