Carlmont students create an anonymous anti-bullying program

Students With Friends strives to make an impact against bullying.

David Setrakyan

Students With Friends strives to make an impact against bullying.

As many schools across the country are beginning to reopen, five students have taken the initiative to create a new anti-bullying program for students. 

Students with Friends was established to provide an anonymous outlet for students to open up about their bullying struggles. Additionally, it aims to prevent students from eating alone at lunch to avoid experiencing bullying and exclusion. 

“The goal is to take people that are lonely and give them a place to sit,” said David Setrakyan, the president of Students with Friends. “Sitting alone at lunch has been proven to cause depression and anxiety because you’re isolated from everyone else.”  

Students who regularly sit alone at lunch are often located in the school’s low populated areas, so these students intend to provide a classroom for those students to go. This area will serve as a safe and welcoming environment for those who feel isolated at lunch. 

Areg Horoupian, a vice president of Students with Friends, said, “We go out and try to find students that are sitting alone during lunch, and then invite them to a room where we can just hang out and bond.”

Students will be anonymously connected with a moderator to discuss anything they may be facing in their lives through their website. The moderators will be administrators, counselors, and selected students. 

“We want to give people a safe platform to get the help they really need without fear of judgment or embarrassment,” said Armen Momjian, a vice president of Students with Friends.

Although Students with Friends will become a club at Carlmont next year, anyone who uses the website will not be directly affiliated with the club. The website’s services are available to use for all, regardless of the school they attend. 

With any anonymous program, struggles may arise with the safety of the users. If a user has expressed any alarming feelings or is trolling the website, the creators have a mechanism to reveal their identity securely. This will only be used when completely necessary, but it is crucial to ensure the safety of all who use this program. 

“We know that having people purely anonymous can lead to a number of problems such as trolling and expression of feelings to hurt themselves or others,” Setrakyan said. “In these cases, we can reveal their identity, but if they’re here to genuinely get help, there’s no reason their identity should be revealed unless they want to reveal it themselves.” 

Students with Friends has been expanding their reach to more people through their social media account and promoting their website to the student body. 

“The hope is that more students will connect with this and want to truly make a difference,” Horoupian said.