Waterville Twins Victimized By Bullying Hoping To Put A Stop To It 

It’s an all too familiar story in schools across the country. For Christina Smedberg, a 7th grader at Waterville Junior High School, it started while defending her twin sister Jasmine. “Jasmine came home crying because she just doesn’t want to go to school anymore because of him bullying her. Then these two girls started bullying her,” Christina said. “Just trying to protect my sister because she was being bullied. And I told him to leave her alone because I don’t like when she gets bullied.”She says that caused the bullies to quickly turned their attention. “Then they started bullying me at the beginning of the year,” she said. The taunts, insults, name calling and threats eventually got so bad neither of them wanted to go back to school, ever. “I just start crying because I just don’t want to go to school because of being bullied,” Christina said.The girls’ mother, Carrie Harvey, says it’s breaking her heart to see her girls go through this. “I cry,” she said. “I wait until they go to bed at night and I cry. You think of all these young kids committing suicide because they just can’t handle it no more and I’m not ready to find my kid that way.”Harvey said she has contacted the school and while the students responsible for the bullying have been punished, it hasn’t stopped them or even slowed them down.We talked to school officials at Waterville Junior High School, who said they could not comment on any specific case. But they did say bullying is taken very seriously at their school. Because of its tricky nature, they take each bullying complaint on a case by case basis. “It’s a fine balance when you’re dealing with the person who is being bullied and the bullier,” said Assistant Principal Douglas Frame. “Because we want to try to educate the person that’s doing the bullying, but at the same time we want to keep everyone safe in the school.”School officials urge kids not to wait, but to report these cases to an adult at the school immediately. “Find an adult wherever they are. If they’re out in the lunchroom, if they’re on the bus, if they’re in the hallway, go to the closest adult and we will help,” said Principal Carole Dodge.Counselors at the school have a wide variety of anti-bullying assemblies and programs to try and drive the point home. “We try to do some things proactively so we’re not always responding to incidents,” school counselor Ashley Pullen said. Pullen says one technique in fighting the problem is to empower the students. “We had students themselves in our PRIDE groups, which are our advisory groups, doing an activity about our harassment policy,” Pullen said. “Giving examples and really helping to put it in student-friendly language so they know it’s there and then they know what to do in case of incidents.”As for Jasmine and Christina, they say they have friends who are on their side. The 12-year-old twins are planning an anti-bullying walk in Waterville later this month. They want anyone, especially kids who have been the victim of bullying and their parents, to walk with them. “See what we’re going through and have us see what they’re going through,” Christina said.They’re hoping to show those doing the bullying the pain they inflict. Anyone who wants to take part in their anti-bullying walk is urged to email Christina and Jasmine: [email protected]