Walsh, Tester meet with Montana students focused on reducing youth violence

Senators welcome students from Billings and Wisdom

(U.S. Senate) – Senators John Walsh and Jon Tester today met with Montana students who are working to reduce youth violence in Montana’s communities.

Rachel Villegas from Billings and Alfred Peterson from Wisdom are this year’s winners of the annual Do The Write Thing essay competition, a violence prevention program for middle school students.

“I am proud of Rachel and Alfred for being part of the conversation for how to strengthen our schools and communities so every student feels supported for who they are,” Walsh said. “By getting involved and offering their solutions, Rachel and Alfred are part of Montana’s bright future.”

“One in four Montana students report being bullied while at school. It’s clear that Rachel and Alfred are taking a bold stand to improve the lives of their fellow students,” Tester said. “Their words are powerful reminders that we must not tolerate violence or intimidation. I hope other Montana students will join these two leaders in taking action to make our communities safer places to live.”

Rachel – an 8th grader from St. Francis Upper School – wrote a powerful essay about her best friend who committed suicide after being bullied. Alfred – a 7th grader from Dillon Middle School – shared his personal story about being bullied at school.

Montana’s Do the Write Thing Challenge is sponsored by Montana Board of Crime Control and provides students an opportunity to write essays on their ideas for reducing youth violence. Each year, the winners of the essay competition travel to Washington, D.C. to share their essays with Montana’s Congressional delegation. This year, 239 students submitted essays.