Friend bench inspires a positive playground - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Friend bench inspires a positive playground

Stratford (WAOW) -- Students in Stratford are standing up to bullying by taking a seat. They've created a new way to make friends.

It's a heartbreaking issue.

“Some people are different from other people and some people laugh at that,” said third grader Sonia Peterson.

But this is a heartwarming solution.

“We go over by them and say, hey what's wrong, and then we say, do you want to be friends with us?" said Ava Weix.

Third graders at St. Joseph's Catholic School created a “friend bench.” It's an effort to combat bullying and a way to make all students feel included.

“Without friends you wouldn't have anything to play with,” added student Ben Zuelke.

“I think starting young and working their way up to where we can maybe prevent bullying," said third grade teacher Tammy Belisle.

This all started in January.

“The students were sad about some kids that didn't have friends to play with at recess time,” explained Belisle.

So when the class saw the idea of a friend bench online, they knew that was their answer.

“People need friends because like, someone's heartbroken, if someone doesn't have a friend or they don't have someone to play with,” said Weix.

So far, the friend bench has been a success.

“They say thanks for being my friend, yeah I like you,” explained Weix.

Every day, Weix and the rest of the third grade class go out for recess. Every day, each of them watch the bench with a careful eye.

“They sit on the bench and then we look after the friend bench and we go make friends with them,” said Weix.

Making friends for a day, a week, or a lifetime.

The friend bench, or buddy bench, was started by a first grader in Pennsylvania last year. To learn more about this movement click here:

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