"Wiles Hero's" Anti-Bullying Program
Published August 20th, 2014
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The Alachua County School Board has approved more than 720 thousand dollars to help pay for Sheriff's Deputies to work 26 different schools. School resource officers do much more than just patrol the hallways.
And one has received statewide recognition for his work... he is being proactive in possibly preventing crime before it happens.
"I stuck up for Jared who's my friend."
7-year-old Aidan Korithoski won the "Wiles Hero" of the year award.
He stopped someone from bullying his friend.
"I like sticking up for kids," said Korithoski.
The "Wiles Heroes" program was started by Alachua County Sheriffs' deputy PJ Mauldin last year at Kimball Wiles Elementary School.
The anti-bullying program encourages kids to stop bullying when they see it.
"I'm trying to teach the kids to be a hero. To step up, it's not always going out and fighting the bad guy or anything like that, it's treating the people right. Helping each other out in a time of need, or even whenever someone just needs a little bit of help and so on," said Mauldin.
And in Korithoski's case, he stood up to the bully.
"Aidan, our Wiles Hero of the year, stood up, went up to the bully and said 'you need to stop bullying.' And that's one of the biggest things, we want them to use those words, and Aidan went up and said you need stop bullying that person."
Mauldin says he learned at a Florida Association of School Resource Officers conference that more than 90 percent of school shooters were at some point bullied in school.
"That's a huge number. 90 percent, over 90 percent of school shooters were bullied. So if we could stop it at the core and we could stop that from happening in the future, then it would help."
Mauldin says he encourages the kids to speak up and look out for each other.
"Wiles Hero's" are awarded a pencil, bookmark, and a special dog tag to wear, as positive reinforcement when standing up to bullies.
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