Nearly 100 Staples High School students and parent volunteers have begun training

to lead local third-graders in discussions about kindness and bullying.

High school students who volunteered for the Kool to be Kind program underwent six hours of initial training over the past two weekends and will complete about 20 hours of training before the program begins in classrooms in November, officials said.

Kool to be Kind -- K2BK -- is based on empathy, kindness and effective responses to bullying situations, according to Elaine Daignault, the town's youth services coordinator.

Training is through the Anti-Defamation League's A World of Difference Institute.

Kool to be Kind was operated as a pilot program in two elementary schools the previous two years. Now, it is being expanded to include third-graders in Westport's five elementary schools, Daignault said.

High school students were invited last spring to apply to participate in the program for the 2012-13 school year.

All completed an application and were interviewed by the K2BK creators before being accepted.