by Stephen Zambotti
Teachers and students at Edward Town Middle School are getting together to put an end to bullying.
On Nov. 18, the school held a "Stomp Out Bullying Day." Students signed an anti-bullying pledge and wore blue to support victims of bullying.
Thoughts of such a major societal issue quickly sparked an idea. Teachers John Mikulski, Michael Carter, Ashley Wood and 11 volunteer eighth-graders created two powerful videos to get the word out, and posted them online.
"Students have realized that there are many types of bullying," said Wood. "It is important that they know that if they are not part of the solution, they are part of the problem."
This is true in so many ways; most kids who witness bullying don't report it, and little changes.
To test their effect, Mikulski and Carter decided to construct an online pledge to measure how far Edward Town's message had spread.
"After the first weekend, one of the videos had already received several hundred views," said Mikulski. "The online pledge was our way to track these numbers and see the impact of our students' work."
Their efforts have already had quite a result in school. Kids have put up "We are the Solution" posters and signs around the building. "Many kids were reading the signs that were posted around the school," said Chris McCune, an eighth-grade student involved with the video. "It looked like people were really focused on the message."
Middle school teachers have shown the videos to their classes, and even some high school teachers. Behavioral changes have taken effect, as messages of the video have set in.
"Once we made the video, everyone started paying more attention to the issue of bullying", said eighth-grader Casey Gruarin.
The anti-bullying pledge is available online at www.wearethesolution.net. More than 600 people have signed the pledge already, including people from all over America, Singapore, Australia, Israel, the United Kingdom, Italy and Brazil. Teachers all over the world have also taken interest in what ETMS has been working on, and taken part in it themselves by watching the videos and taking the pledge.
The videos had a monumental impact on audiences. It preached that if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. The video, still spreading rapidly, has had more than 2,700 views so far.
"It's amazing that the students' video has been viewed by so many people," said Mikulski. "Their message has made a worldwide impact."
Everyone has the power to change the future, and the students and faculty at Edward Town know this better than anybody. They have taken the initiative to craft a future without abuse from peers.
Stephen Zambotti is an eighth-grader at Edward Town Middle School.
A link to the Edward Town video and the anti-bullying pledge can be found on the NFP School Page.