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Controversy Over School's Anti-Bullying Program

An anti-bullying campaign is causing some controversy at a local school.

The staff at James Madison Charter Academy in Fountain is taking a hands-on approach to teaching kids about bullying, and it has some parents very angry.

This week, 4th through 6th graders are taking turns being ignored.

If a student has a sticker on their collar, that is the signal for everyone else to shun them.

The principal says it will help stop bullying, but not everyone agrees.

"I wasn't allowed to talk with anyone. I wasn't allowed to play with anyone," said Mark, who is a 4th grader at the school. "They said we had to do it because to show other kids what it's like to be bullied."

He got a sticker the very first day. His mom was furious when she found out what was happening.

"He got shunned, not bullied, all day because the school refuses to say it's bullying," said Johanna Myers.

She says her son is constantly bullied. She would like to see the school to do something about it, but not like this.

"They've got a good heart behind it, it's just being approached in a very misguided way," said Myers.

The school's principal disagrees. She tells 11 News the school is all about kids learning through experience.

"We are putting the students in a situation where they can experience what it's like to be left out," said Principal Dr. Anne Shearer-Shineman.

Dr. Shearer-Shineman hopes by the end of the week, everyone will be a little nicer.

"They will have more insight into things that they might be doing to others that they don't realize that they're doing," said Dr. Shearer-Shineman.

The principal tells 11 News there are strict rules in place during the activity. Students are not allowed to tease or be mean to their classmates wearing stickers.

We're told almost every 4th,5th and 6th grader will get a sticker at some point during the week.

The activity wraps up on Thursday, and then there will be a discussion about what the students learned.

The principal tells 11 News she sent all the parents a letter home last week explaining the activity, and asking parents with concerns to call the school. However, Myers tells 11 News she never got a letter.


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