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Students take a stand against bullying

Seeing someone wearing the orange isn’t uncommon around Farmington. It’s one of the school colors at Farmington High School, after all. But when Farmington Elementary School students and staff put on their orange clothes Oct. 9, it wasn’t a show of school spirit.

No, on that particular day, the FES students and staff were wearing orange as a symbol to stand up against bullying. It was part of Unity Day 2013, sponsored by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center.

It worked well with the theme for the month, Making Healthy Choices, at Farmington Elementary, school counselor Jen Venz said.

“It’s caring, fairness, kindness, treating people with respect, and teaching the Golden Rule,” Venz said.

Earlier in the week, students and staff at FES signed their names to some large orange discs, not really knowing what would be done with those discs. Art teacher Gail O’Malley had a plan, though. She connected the discs to black discs, creating a large chain of sorts, which is now featured in the lobby at the school.

“The chain shows that we are united, as staff and students, to end bullying in our school,” Venz explained. “We are talking about taking care of each other by being kind to one another.”

FES also held a poster contest in connection to the school’s Unity Day activity.

The Unity Day concept proved popular. Venz estimated that about 95 percent of the staff and student body wore orange to signify they were standing up to bullying.

Akin Road Elementary School and Meadowview Elementary School also participated in Unity Day.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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