Last week a phone app and initiative was launched to students at Barrington High School that can help reduce bullying and student's feelings of exclusion.
Lake Barrington resident Dan Duffy spearheaded the launch. Duffy joined the non-profit Prevent Child Abuse America (PCAA) as President & CEO after resigning from the Illinois Senate last year. PCAA has been working to prevent the abuse and neglect of our children in the United States since 1972.
PCAA and Barrington 220 food provider Chartwells have partnered to launch a new program in the form of a phone app to help reduce bullying in school cafeterias. 16-year-old Natalie Hampton from Los Angeles, California designed the Sit With Us app after being bullied in middle school and spending many lunch periods eating alone. She wants to make sure other students don’t suffer as she did, so she created the app that matches students to others who have nobody to sit with in the school cafeteria.
Video of Sit With Us founder Natalie Hampton:
Barrington 220 Superintendent Dr. Brian Harris and Barrington High School Principal Steve McWilliams shared their support of efforts to eliminate bullying in Barrington 220 schools and the lunch-specific Sit With Us anti-bullying initiative. The auditorium filled with students in government & history classes and student club leaders, also heard from Duffy and Rhonna Cass, CEO, of Chartwells K12. Students were encouraged to download the app to their phones.
BHS seniors and leaders from Broncos Committed, Sean Dolan and Kara Dahlenburg, explained how students could help the effort by becoming Sit With Us ambassadors. After the assembly and for all the student lunch periods the rest of the day, students could receive pinwheels, prizes, and giveaways for downloading the Sit With Us app and learning more about how they can help be more inclusive in the cafeteria and student lounge.
Working to protect children as an Illinois State Senator, Duffy asked Illinois legislators Dan McConchie and David McSweeney to be at the assembly and answer student’s questions about what can be done to further protect students and eliminate bullying. Students asked questions regarding the protection of LGBTQ students and laws protecting their individual rights. Coming from government & history classes, they also wanted to know about the budget stalemate in Springfield and what could be done to create changes needed to make Illinois a place students would want to return to after graduation from college.