Sep 10, 2012 2:09 AM by Jacqui Heinrich

Pueblo West freshman starts anti-bullying initiative

A Pueblo West High School freshman is taking a stand on bullying. After years of being victimized herself, she's helping others cope by telling her story and offering a safe place online for people to talk about it.

For as long as Rhiannon Winch can remember, people have considered her different; she's suffered from diabetes since kindergarten. She says her peers tortured her by spreading viscious rumors, and it only got worse in high school.

Winch and her best friend, Tashisha Myers, are taking a stand before it's too late; they say high school is a critical time for teens. Winch told News 5, "It [bullying] ruins their self esteem and it ruins what they want to be when they grow up because they don't know if they can do that. I've heard a lot of suicide stories and I had a friend who just committed suicide for bullying."

Winch and Myers say teens need peers to talk to since adults can't understand bullying in today's age. They say social networking and cell phones make kids more accessible, and bullying doesn't stop when they leave school.

The girls built an anti-bullying Facebook page to provide a safe haven for kids in an effort to take back the internet from cyber-bullies. They want their campaign to spread state-wide and are working on building a teen crisis hotline.



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