Columbus School Tries To Grow Leaders With 'SWAGG'

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A South Columbus School is working to make their kids into leaders in order to avoid crime.

Sometimes children are better than adults at getting through to other children. This is especially true when it comes to learning how to stay out of trouble.

Buckeye Middle School has an innovative anti-crime project developed by a group of young students and an insightful teacher.

Pam Edwards, a Buckeye Middle School teacher, is showing her students SWAGG. Not swag, as in swagger - but SWAGG as in Scholars With A Good Goal.

She is helping her 6th and 7th graders learn how to be role models for younger students who will follow them.

Educators report that middle school can be a trying time for kids. What happens during middle school can set the tone for the teenage years that follow.

"Some students at Buckeye Middle School came up with the idea for SWAGG. They were inspired by a Frederick Douglass phrase; he said it's easier to build strong children than to fix broken men," said Edwards.

These students want to help classmates avoid the so-called "cradle-to-prison" pipeline which haunts many of the families.

"It's when you are younger and your parents are in jail and doing drugs and all the stuff, that's affecting you when you're little and you grow up into it," added Edwards. “If you're parents are in prison and you don't really have a role model to look up to. The goal is not to look at risk factors, but success factors, like how can anybody turn their life around, instead of going down that path. What can you do to get out of that path?”
Through SWAGG, students are encouraged to seek support from a caring adult. They are also advised to tell a teacher when they're bullied or see it happening to others.

Lastly, it helps the students to avoid the temptation of drugs and alcohol by being leaders instead of followers.