No one likes a bully—or so it’s been said. Over the years, bullying has been a major concern for everyone. But it’s the students who have more influence with their peers than anyone else. Read on to learn about how the impact of student involvement in the anti-bullying movement is creating a more positive campus environment.
“Kind is Cool”
This declaration was spotted proudly displayed on a tee shirt for young boys. More and more we’re seeing students take matters into their own hands by proactively speaking against acts of aggression and conflict. It’s becoming “cool” to include students who may feel left out and to take immediate action to stop (or prevent) bullying behavior. Students are emerging as leaders in demonstrating the profound impact that simple acts of kindness can have on the lives of others.
How can students help to stamp out bullying? Here are a few examples of kids who are taking the initiative to come up with their own creative solutions for campus and cyber-bullying prevention.
- Students in Littleton, Colorado, have started “Kindness Klubs” on every campus at all levels charged with spreading kindness throughout the school year.
- Another very creative group of students posted brightly-colored messages and positive affirmations all over the girls’ restroom mirrors and walls to encourage and uplift all who entered.
- At a school in Castle Rock, Colorado, students participate in “Kindness Campaign Week” where students write compliments and nice messages with sidewalk chalk at the main entrance of the school. The Clear Sky Bisons also recently created a tree with 750 leaves displaying words from each and every student who were asked how they show kindness in nature, their community, in the school, their family, or to themselves!
- When the lunch bell rings at Boca High in Boca Raton, Florida, someone is always sitting alone. That’s why some students started a club called We Dine Together, whose mission is to make sure no one is starving for company.
- At an elementary in Tyler, Texas, “Kindness Week” is hosted in February. They begin sessions with: “You’ve been together for 100 days now with people you didn’t pick, a teacher you didn’t get to select, but now you’re a family. You know everyone’s personality. How do you treat your family? How do we interact respectably?”
- We like the idea of having students write compliments on cutout piggy banks. Kids then hand them to a fellow student, preferably one they don’t know well. Let them know they’re making deposits in others’ “emotional bank accounts.”
- How about “Affirmation Acorns”? Students write affirmations on large cut-outs of acorns and plant seeds of positivity around the campus:
- I am a good and caring person
- I deserve to be treated with respect.
- I am capable of achieving success in my life.
- There are people who love me and are there for me.
- I deserve to be happy.
- I am allowed to make mistakes and learn from them.
- I am a good friend.
- I am talented.
- I choose my actions, attitudes, and moods.
- Nobody has the power to ruin my day.
The common theme is that it’s the youth who are making the greatest strides here. By launching a crusade to combat loneliness, aggression, or exclusion, they are successfully fostering a culture of caring.
Reduce bullying at school by equipping teachers with the tools to handle bullying both inside and outside of the classroom.
Involve Students in the Solution
We’re finding that kids really like taking ownership of projects that make a difference in helping victims or promoting positive behavior. If students on your campus haven’t started already, have a discussion with them about getting involved by creating their own pathways to stop and/ or prevent aggressive behavior. A great way to introduce it is to review the 6 Pillars of Character with them, highlighting trustworthiness, responsibility, respect, fairness, caring, and citizenship—all factors that play a part in the fight against bullying.
Share Your Experience
Share what your students are doing (or feeling) about anti-bullying programs. Let’s start a discussion about the successes and challenges this subject brings. Don’t be shy—let your voice be heard by submitting your comments below!