Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

UA students to travel to N.C. to combat bullying

Twelve UA students will be traveling this October to Salisbury High School in Salisbury, N.C., to facilitate the Heritage Panel, a co-educational, anti-bullying program created by the Young Women’s Christian Association of Central Alabama.

“The YWCA will do a training in Birmingham for the UA students,” said Aaron Brazelton, executive director of the Heritage Panel at the University. “We will then travel to Salisbury and train 25 student leaders in the Heritage Panel curriculum and building an inclusive community.”

Holley Jackson, YWCA Coordinator of AmeriCorps and Social Justice, said the Heritage Panel is a two-day social justice training where students are encouraged to tell a story of a time when they witnessed, perpetrated or were a victim of discrimination or bullying and how they will learn from that experience.

“Heritage Panel really focuses the students on seeing each other past what we look like on the outside,” Jackson said. “We have students share personal stories and get to know each other on a new level to show that everyone goes through trials and tribulations, making some days harder than others.”

Brazelton, a sophomore majoring in international relations and secondary education, said he hopes the UA students will serve as a Heritage Panel for our campus.

“Hopefully [the UA leaders] will come back and be a beacon of change for our community,” Brazelton said. “The YWCA is going to teach them how to address certain problems and how to deal with those problems and then how to go out and help other people deal with those problems.”

Jackson said the Heritage Panel tries to create an open environment in high schools where students rally together and take a stand against discrimination and bullying.

“After we go through these seminars and workshops with the students, they are then placed back into their school and they are ambassadors for the Heritage Panel program,” Brazelton said. “When there are possible inflammatory issues that are happening within the school, the school can utilize those students that have already been trained and they will sit at a table and talk about the issues with students from the student body.”

Avis Williams, principal of Salisbury High School, said by developing these students’ leadership and relationship skills, they will become a valuable asset to inclusivity at Salisbury.

“With over 900 students, I would love to impact them all, but we will start with 25 and then allow the students to model what they have learned as well and serve as ambassadors,” Williams said. “I have spoken to many of my students and parents and they are excited about the fact that this is a student-centered effort.”

Jackson said the YWCA conducts reports at the end of each school year about the Heritage Panel curriculum and found that there is a large impact on the school climate, because the panelists share what they learn with their group of friends and the knowledge spreads throughout the school.

“Communication is so vital,” Williams said. “Students are accustomed to tweeting or texting rather than talking. Many stereotypes are a result of a lack of understanding.”

Williams said students are more receptive when the information is coming from someone closer to their age and hopes her students look up to Brazelton and the other UA facilitators.

“Salisbury High School is a very diverse school and I believe that students need to be taught tolerance and empathy,” he said. “I believe that programs like the Heritage Panel will give our young people a toolkit to help them thrive, despite any challenges that they may face.”


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