Upstanders Making a Difference

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A new Riverhead High School club, the Upstanders, is working to thwart bullying within the Riverhead Central School District through a peer education initiative. 

As part of the undertaking, the 25-member club, advised by Elizabeth Morse and Chuck Kitz, will participate in an eight-week peer education training program provided by the Suffolk County Department of Health.  

As part of the instruction, the club members are being taught to be “upstanders” rather than bystanders in their school community, and are learning antibullying techniques to impart to their peers and younger students. 

“This program will inspire our students to become effective communicators using social, emotional and academic skills related to assertiveness, spontaneity, self-awareness, self-acceptance and role-modeling,” said Kitz. “It is vital that students develop the ability to manage their own emotions and their reactions to conflict, to value the differences in people, and to stand up for those who are unable to do so.”

The club members are expected to be fully trained by the end of March, and will then be tasked with sharing their new expertise with students in lower grades. 

“Their message will change the culture of Riverhead,” added Kitz.