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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

TEENS Can Stomp Out Bullying with Peer Affirmation

CALIFORNIA — A 17-year-old reached back to the sheet of paper taped to her back and pulled it off Monday at Fair View High School — then she started smiling. Mary said it felt "awesome" reading the affirmations other students wrote about her on the paper. She had no idea who scrawled each one in different colored marker, but her favorite was, "You're gorgeous inside and out." "It made my day better," she said about reading the notes. "I'm gonna keep it." she and more than 60 other students wrote positive notes on paper taped to each others' backs Monday as Fair View High School kicked off National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. The teens lined up in "love trains" writing encouraging words such as, "Never give up," and "I love your laugh." Nancy Medina, target case manager for the high school, organized the event with the help of Friday Night Live leaders and  Chico Rural Teacher Pathway students from Butte College. Teachers hoped to make students aware that bullying hurts people, sometimes enough to attempt suicide, and that while bullies need to stop, victims and peers need to stand up against abuse. They also wanted the teens to know that being positive makes their classmates feel accepted. 


"Sometimes, even if you just turn around and smile at a person, it makes them feel like they matter," Medina said. Dozens of students packed into a classroom for the Stomp Out Bullying event, whena teacher  called 16-year-old Anne X to the front of the room. Teachers had prepped the teen for what she was about to hear. The student held up a red paper heart. Boone said to the class that X was rude and asked the students if they had something to say to her. "You're totally useless," one student said and the teen ripped off a piece of her paper heart. Another classmate made another rude comment and tore another piece. One student asked, "Are we breaking her heart?" as classmates continued to read out notes not directed at AnneX, but that students and teachers hear every day at school, Boone said. AnneX said after ripping up her heart that it "sucks" hearing such negative comments. "It just makes you feels upset and mad all day," she said.


Boone asked the students how to mend a broken heart and prompted them to give Anne X compliments. "You're very pretty," one student said and AnneX started unfolding a red paper heart without tears. "Don't let what people say get to you because it's not true," a teen said and the student kept unfolding her "mended heart." When teacher Alexey Ledwith asked how many students had heard negative comments similar to the ones read out to X, almost every student held up their hand. When he asked about hearing positive comments, fewer teen raised their hands. "It's important to realize how many things in a day we say that are negative compared to positive," Ledwith said. "It gets out of hand." 


The students watched two anti-bullying videos, then wrote positive messages on big balloons. Later on, students released the balloons into the air. Boone told the students Tthe activities were a good reminder to take care of each other. "We're gonna follow up on this," Boone said. "It's wonderful we're talking about bullying today. But it's gotta happen tomorrow. And it's gotta happen the next day." 


Story Posted:  10/04/2011 12:00 AM    Not available now. And all student names changed.  Staff writer Katy Sweeny can be reached at 896-7760 or ksweeny@chicoer.com.  

1 comment:

  1. Most recent update: 3/25/12 after Trayvon Martin's killing and Shaima's being beaten to death in San Diego! and another Ohio teen on life support!
    TOO MANY TOO MANY

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