“We want our school to become a place where people feel safe and accepted,” said Dawn Cox, family coordinator for CMS.
A video highlighting just what bullying is was presented as part of the Stand for Change program. According to the video, 10 percent of students are bullies, 10 percent are victims and the remaining 80 percent are participants who do not always speak out against bullying.
“Getting bystanders involved is really the only way we will be able to stand for change,” Cox said.
Luz Price, school counselor at CMS, said people are most often bullied because of differences. Students need to accept differences so they can put a stop to bullying and contribute to making the school better, Price said.
“You can be the person who makes that other person want to be here,” Price told the students.
Students shared the anti-bullying message through a cheer, dance and presentations on how to be positive and build others up.
While telling students it would take courage to stand for change, Price asked students to literally stand up to symbolize a commitment to help stop bullying at CMS.
Students who choose to Stand for Change will:
n Sympathize with others
n Tell an adult (about the bullying)
n Accept differences
n Never misuse technology and
n Do their part to be kind.
Positive encouragement is a key element against bullying, according to Cox.
“The worst part of it (bullying) is how it completely changes the morale in the school,” Cox said after the rally.
Efforts to make Cleveland Middle School a bully-free zone started in December, with empathy training.
Cox said one thing she noticed was some students do not really know how to encourage someone or be empathetic or sensitive to others.
The rally Friday was the kick-off of the Stand for Change program, being developed by Cox and Price, for 2011.
Students will also have the opportunity to participate in a schoolwide poster contest. To enter, students must develop an anti-bullying slogan and incorporate the Stand for Change motto. Grand prize is a $25 gift certificate, and the posters will be displayed throughout the school.
Students at CMS can report bullying by giving an anonymous note to the counselor or leaving it on a teacher’s desk. Students can also tell their parents, who can make an anonymous call to the school.
Price said keeping anonymous the identity of the person telling of the bullying is important to get students to report bullying.