By Sharon Stevens Education Reporter
HIGHLAND, Ill. (KSDK) - It may not be the solution to bullying, but it could be a start. A Highland, Illinois teacher becomes an author to help her students.
The book is called "Just Pete." Seventh grade teacher Malinda Bertels says "Pete" is about a lot of kids she has known who were bullied, including herself.
On her book, Pete is a high school freshman who has been bullied since seventh grade by a kid named Nick.
When she was in seventh grade, Bertels remembers being bullied because she was tall, taller than most of the boys in her class.
The whole point of writing a book for Bertels was to make sure that the issue of bullying was front and center for children, and this is her playbook. This book is what she uses in the classroom.
Bertels wrote the book the three years ago and helped build a curriculum around it. She had also seen or heard about bullying in the cafeteria or in the hallways of schools.
Other teachers at Highland Middle School also use Bertels' program.
Her students say they're grateful that their teacher wrote "Just Pete."
Three years and 300 students later, Bertels, a mother of four, decided to formally publish her book. She's passionate about reducing bulling and talking about it with students and their parents.
She says she doesn't want kids to ignore this issue or walk away from it.
"There's a lot of sad statistics. There's over 4,000 people, suicides every year, because of suicides. I love to write and O wanted to get this message out about bullying," said Bertels.
Malinda Bertels book signings:
Saturday, March 2 at 11 a.m. at Fairview Heights Public Library
Saturday, March 2 at 1 p.m. at O'Fallon Public Library
Thursday, March 7 at 6:30 p.m. at Glen Carbon Library
Saturday March 9 at 1 p.m. at Michael's Coffee Shop
Saturday, March 9 at 2 p.m. at Bella Milano
Be sure to check out our Bullying: Enough is enough section for stories and resources for those being bullied.