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SF Students Create Anti-Bullying Billboards

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While driving home Monday evening, you might have noticed a couple of anti-bullying billboards up around Sioux Falls. Those big signs started as a small homework assignment for seventh and eighth graders at Patrick Henry Middle School.

This eye-catching billboard all started with a sticker.

Soffiya Poberechnik said, "We found these stickers, and so my sister actually helped me figure out a way to do it.
Poberechnik is the artist behind one of the two billboards up in Sioux Falls that sends drivers a message about bullying.  After a first, failed, attempt at the anti-bullying assignment, a trip to Walmart and some inspiration from her big sister helped Poberechnik create the winning masterpiece.
The hand on the billboard Poberechnik explains came from a natural mannerism.

"When you say stop you usually put out your hand," Poberechnik said.

'The end of bullying begins with you,' is a saying students are taught during one of the 14 anti-bullying classes they have each year.
Professional School Counselor for Patrick Henry Middle School Alex Dobbs said, "A part of this program is to spread the message out into the community because this is not just something that happens in school age, it can happen in the workplace as well."

 That's where the billboards come in Dobbs said. He said the goal is to not only teach students to stop bullying in the hallways, but also outside of school walls.   

"(They are) taking the opportunity to let their voices be heard and really be a part of the solution, so I am really proud of them," Dobbs said.

Poberechnik said she hopes her billboard on East 10th Street and Linden Lane inspires people to take action.        

 "It's a two way street, if you bully people it's just going to come back and bite you in the butt," Poberechnik said.

It’s a powerful message that all started on a small poster board.

The top six posters were voted on by teachers, parents, and students. The billboards were paid for by the Parent Teacher Organization.

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