We refer to young John McCracken, a second-grader and inspiring visionary at Taylor Elementary School who has recognized a need and taken action.
Late last week, under John’s guidance, Taylor Elementary launched an Anti-Bullying Club founded by the youngster. The action came during a school assembly attended by Johnny McDaniel, director of Bradley County Schools, and Sheena Newman, supervisor for elementary education in the county school system.
We thank both for their support of such a program, one whose relevance is real and whose timeliness comes at a point when bullying, both inside and outside our public schools, is making its way into more and more news headlines.
Very few schools, especially at the elementary and middle school levels, are immune from this unsavory blight. We include our own Cleveland City and Bradley County School systems. We do not point fingers, but school officials acknowledge its existence. Most importantly, they are taking action.
Local, state and national anti-bullying programs already exist, and new ones are being developed, as local schools work to implement those which are the best fit for their environment.
We applaud local schools that are taking this proactive approach just as we appreciate their willingness to accept accountability for how students conduct themselves within the hallways, classrooms, cafeterias, restrooms and grounds of the educational facilities.
We also take special note of the actions of students like John.
This young fellow saw newspaper articles and TV news accounts about bullying in schools so he customized a strategy specifically for his school, his second-grade classmates and his fellow students at all grade levels. He even drafted a pledge that Anti-Bullying Club founding members recited during the school assembly.
It reads as follows:
“I promise by being a member of ABC I will not bully anyone at Taylor Elementary School. I will not do bad things to other people. I will not make fun of people by talking about what they are wearing or what they look like. I will not tell lies about people to try and get them in trouble. By being a member of ABC, I will treat people the way I want to be treated, which is with respect and love.”
ABC members also purchase — for 25 cents — bracelets that declare, “Be Cool! Not Cruel.” Proceeds from all bracelet sales go right back into a school fund that allows the membership to buy more bracelets for future club members.
As of late last week, the student-led group already had 100 members. Many more are expected. Siblings and students from other schools are also expressing interest in the campaign.
Why did John choose to take this action?
“I didn’t want no one else to get bullied, so I just made a club about it.”
It’s that simple. Enough said.
Every worthwhile movement, whether it is directed by adults, teenagers or even second-graders, requires one courageous leader to step forward. At Taylor Elementary School, he is John McCracken.
Other local schools likely are now employing similar initiatives. Others are probably following the Taylor example and starting their own.
It doesn’t matter who starts it.
What matters is that it be done, and that school administrators, teachers, parents and classmates step up — just like John McCracken did.
We salute this fine young man.
We credit all who have had such a positive influence in his impressionable life.