Originally published Monday, April 16, 2018 at 06:00a.m.

Cerbat Elementary is taking a stand against bullying by providing students with the Buddy-Up and Hero-Up clubs, which are about respect and standing up for themselves.

Both clubs are run by parent volunteers. Kristi Hardcastle works with the students in the Hero-Up club, which is for fourth- and fifth-graders.

Hardcastle thought of the club years ago when her son was a victim of bullying at the beginning of kindergarten and wanted to see change at the school. After being asked for years, Cerbat Elementary implemented the club this year.

“Hero-Up stands for ‘Helping Everyone Respect Others,’” Hardcastle said.

In the Hero Up club, Hardcastle discusses respect and shows examples of different bullying scenarios by using examples from YouTube videos to the students.

“I have discussed what could (have) been done to get help for both the bully and the child being bullied,” Hardcastle said. Students have expressed their reasons for joining the club and what they have learned. Students have said that helping people, being nicer to others and helping to stop bullying lead their reasons.

“I joined Hero-Up because I thought it would be fun to learn more about anti-bullying,” said one fifth-grader at Cerbat Elementary.

The Buddy-Up club is for first- through third-graders at Cerbat Elementary, and Julie Johnson is the person in charge.

Students in Buddy-Up shared their experiences from being part of the club.

Johnson said when the club first started she heard a lot of students say they were in the club to learn how to be a friend, or even a better friend.

The clubs have come together to work on projects. For Vietnam Veterans Day, the students came together to create handmade cards for veterans.

“(We) handed them out downtown at their celebration,” Hardcastle said.

The cards were red, white and blue, and said, “Thank you for your service” and “You matter,” which is the slogan for the Buddy-Up club.

Hardcastle has seen improvements and change in some of her students with them getting help and standing up for other students.

“Two of the club members have started standing up for themselves,” she said.

The Hero-Up has six club members and the Buddy-Up club has about 20.