SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Grant students, teachers, and staff made several laps around the building the morning of June 21 in support of the school's first anti-bullying walk. The goal of the event, which was sponsored by the student driven after school club Buddies Against Bullying and Girl School Troop 65016 with support from the Grant PTO, was to promote a positive school climate and spread awareness of anti-bullying initiatives.

During the walk, club members – dressed in blue 'No Bullying Zone' T-shirts and carrying signs with anti-bullying messages – led students in a chant of 'Be A Buddy, Not A Bully.' 

“I was so proud and happy about the whole school walking. I loved them chanting 'be a buddy, not a bullying.' The kids said it for the rest of the day whenever I passed by. I was so excited about the whole thing...,” said outgoing South Plainfield sixth grader Faith Lowrie, a victim of bullying who, along with classmates Lorenzo Fuscoletti, Matthew Hannon, Luisa Ponce Jimenez, and Daniel Mejias, formed the student-driven after school club back in January.  "To see all my friends supportive and positive was really great.”

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“One of our teachers told us about an act of kindness that happened during the walk. Other kids were telling us how great the walk was. That was a good feeling,” Faith added. “Another girl came up to us and thanked us for the walk. She told us she had been bullied and she was glad for the walk and will be joining the club next year."

“While watching them today smiling proudly, laughing with each other, and engaging all the other students during the walk my heart was so full. They are leaving behind a great legacy,” Faith’s mom Kristy Lowrie told TAPintoSouth Plainfield. 

Buddies Against Bullying is open to fifth and sixth graders and designed to help students stand up to bullies; understand that they are never alone; and promote trust and belief in others while also creating activities that spread positive school climate and anti-bullying indicatives. During the 2017-2018 school year, the club met monthly with Principal Patrick Sarullo serving as its advisor. 

The students developed their own anti-bullying chants and posters. It was amazing! I am very proud of Grant School,” Sarullo said. 

“I would like to thank the PTO, especially Mrs. Kapsch, Mrs. Becker, Ms. Moniz, the teachers, Sodexo staff, our custodian, staff, students, Buddies Against Bullying, and the Girl Scout troop,” added the principal. “It honestly could not have gone smoother. It is a big thanks to all of them.”

Lowrie said she was thankful to the PTO and Grant administrators as well as the parents for supporting the club and the walk. 

“I want to thank all of the parents for their support and for raising amazing children and all of our families, friends, and parents in the community who have shown great love and support. It means more then they know,” said Lowrie, adding that special thanks go to her friend Juls McCormick-Anesh who donated the blue ‘No Bully Zone’ T-shirts worn by club members. 

Most of all, Lowrie said, she proud of Faith for her ‘strength, assertiveness, and leadership’ and  ‘grateful for her awesome friends who have all stuck by each other's side no matter how tough things got.’

“There are some adults who are not able to face some of the things that these children are experiencing in their day-to day-lives,” said Lowrie, adding, “While I am heart broken that they have had to endure the things that they have, I am honored to witness their empowerment, courage, strength, growth, and their acts of kindness. I hope they are all just as proud of themselves.”

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