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Academy students speak out against bullies

by jmaloni
Fri, Feb 10th 2012 05:35 am
From left are Devyn Munoz (Niagara-Wheatfield), Jaylan McWilson (Niagara Falls), Aidin Reed (Wilson) and Kyle Howes (Niagara-Wheatfield) with the book that inspired them, `The Misfits.`
From left are Devyn Munoz (Niagara-Wheatfield), Jaylan McWilson (Niagara Falls), Aidin Reed (Wilson) and Kyle Howes (Niagara-Wheatfield) with the book that inspired them, "The Misfits."

The Orleans/Niagara BOCES Niagara Academy Middle School students were assigned the book "The Misfits" by James Howe to read. Social studies teacher Brian Busch said the story about a group of seventh-graders who have been the target of name-calling and bullying really struck home with many of the students.

"Many of the students started to realize how language can be used as a weapon and really hurt people. They found that they really identified with many of the characters and the situations that the characters found themselves in," he said.

Principal Dr. Sushma Sztorc challenged the students to come up with ideas to relate to others on how they felt about the book while using the 21st century skills that the school emphasizes.

Busch said the teachers and Sztorc were impressed with the ways the students found to express their feelings about the topic.

"One of my students, Maddie Marie Boudreau, wrote a newsletter about reading the book that she shared with the school, other students made posters and buttons and some of my students made a movie about how words hurt and each of the homeroom teachers showed it in their class. The concept was very interesting with the students writing down derogatory words that they have been called and then pinning them all on one student," he said.

The video can be found on the Orleans/Niagara BOCES website under calendar and news.

"It was a great experience for the classes," said Busch. "The topic motivated them to do something about bullying, and they used their creativity and skills to get their message across. They did a great job."

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