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Kaler seeks students for anti-bullying council

BY KATIE PAXTON kpaxton@paducahsun.com

Paducah Mayor Gayle Kaler is accepting applications for the Mayor's Anti-Bullying Youth Council from middle and high school students with a commitment and passion for the prevention of bullying.

The council will work with a committee from the Mayor's Anti-Bullying Task Force to raise awareness of youth bullying and to design a prevention and intervention plan to implement in schools and the community.

In 2013, the Anti-Bullying Task Force formed a joint resolution with the city of Paducah, the McCracken Fiscal Court, the Paducah Human Rights Commission, and the Guess Anti-Bullying Foundation to support anti-bullying initiatives, foundations and programs. The 21 members of the Task Force include city officials and leaders, such as Susan Guess of the foundation; Bernice Belt, chairwoman of the Paducah Human Rights Commission; Carol Gault, Paducah city commissioner; George Wilson of the Tennessee Titans and Paducah Tilghman High School alumnus; and Kaler.

A subcommittee of the task force will assist Kaler in appointing 32 representatives to the youth council. Middle and high schools will be represented based on their enrollment.

"What (the task force) does is increase awareness in our community, and as leaders it shows we don't accept this behavior," Kaler said. "(We ask ourselves) what kind of impact do we want the task force to have on the community. We want to implement programs and raise awareness. The committee came up with the idea (of the youth council), and I think it will have a real impact on the community because it is driven by students who have experienced bullying. Who better to advise us on better ways of handling this issue?"

The application consists of a minimum 50-word essay detailing why the student wishes to serve on the council. Applications can be found on the city of Paducah's website: PaducahKY.gov/paducah/mayors-anti-bullying-task-force. Applications should be mailed to the address on the application by Friday, Aug, 29.

Questions should be addressed to Lindsay Parish in Kaler's office at 270-444-8504 or lparish@paducahky.gov.

Contact Katie Paxton, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8655.

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