The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

February 26, 2011

The P.A.S.T. is ahead

EHS graduate takes on bullying as Miss Oklahoma campaign platform

By Joe Malan, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID — When Aly Akers was in grade and middle schools, she was a victim of bullying.

Now, Akers is turning that around with her program called P.A.S.T., or Prevent And Stop Tormenting.

The program, which the former Enid High School and current Oklahoma State University junior student started last year, is one that will be her platform for her Miss Oklahoma campaign this year.

“When I started the Miss Oklahoma program, I needed a platform, and the first thing I thought of was bullying,” Akers said.

Akers actually started her work before last year.

When she was as young as 16, she talked at local schools about the dangers of bullying.

“So now that I do have a program, I’m really trying to hit the school system hard, have a platform and talk about my past,” Akers said.

In order to start P.A.S.T., Akers has had to use her own money to get things going. So far, she’s created T-shirts with the P.A.S.T. logo on them, and she is planning to distribute small rubber bracelets with the logo.

“I really am (passionate about anti-bullying),” Akers said. “I just remember when I was a victim of being bullied, how I felt when I came home from school.”

Akers said she knows bullying still runs rampant not only throughout schools but everywhere.

“In the past year, there have been so many cases of suicide because children are being bullied,” Akers said. “When a parent drops off a student, they shouldn’t have a fear of them being bullied.”

Akers said if someone, especially a young child, is being bullied, he needs to tell a teacher or his parents.

“Even though someone is different from you, maybe in appearance or beliefs, that’s no reason to bully them,” Akers said. “Not everyone is the same.”

Akers said she’s happy to see more schools throughout the country take a more clear stance that bullying is wrong and that they are educating their students.

“People need to understand the dangers (of bullying) in today’s society).”