Mental health, drugs and bullying are just some of the many challenges teenagers face on a daily basis. The Juveniles Understanding Discipline, Order, and Service, also known as J.U.D.O.S. held a symposium at Bay High School to tackle some of those issues.

The Bay High freshman class walked into the gym Tuesday afternoon but not for a typical pep rally.

“Our theme is “Chop It Up” symposium, educating our youth to make educated choices,” said Executive Director of J.U.D.O.S. Dr. Tammy Anderson. 

The non-profit youth crime prevention organization, the J.U.D.O.S. wanted to reach out to students to discuss mental health, drugs, and bullying. 

“We figured we would catch the ones who are just coming in and that we can actually do prevention,” said Dr. Anderson. 

It was led by students for students.

“When students are talking to students they have the tendency to reach them. We want to reach them today,” said Dr. Anderson.

Through hands-on exercises, bully’s confronted victims and hold the sign “Chop It Up” to show support. The symposium also was in honor of two students, one from Bay High and the other from Surfside who lost their lives.

“I believe that bullying is very serious, mental illness is very serious and the stigma around it and we have to change the way, especially us as teenagers think because its not always just bad bad bad you kinda got to look at both sides, make your own judgment and not believe what everyone says,” said Bay High Senior Semira Phillips.

“We’re going to be chopping it up and trying to make sure we can chew up some of this information and digest it so they can use this information to make better choices in life,” said Dr. Anderson.

The J.U.D.O.S. started their first school club at Bay High school back in February. It currently has about 40 students who meet twice a month during lunch for a free meal and conversation about issues like mental health, drugs and bullying.