Kind is the new cool.
Don’t bully, it might happen to you.
Don’t be a bucket dipper. Be a bucket filler!
On Monday, October 5, fourth-graders at Bill Roberts K-8 School united with signs protesting bullying.
The fourth-graders visited History Colorado Center a week earlier and along the way, witnessed a peaceful protest regarding renewable energy. After returning back to school, the students continued to talk about peaceful protests and how they could organize one. In light of October being National Bullying Prevention Month, the fourth-grade class organized the anti-bullying stomp.
Alongside their teachers, Cheryl Beckwith and Val Marbury, the students cheered outside the school and cars honked their horns in support. “Who stops bullying?” the teachers cheered. “We do!” the students shouted.
“A bully is anyone who makes someone else feel unsafe or not welcome,” says fourth-grader Isa Gonzalez-Cruz. She and a group of fellow fourth-graders gathered later to discuss bullying.
Mean, angry, injures somebody, makes somebody feel bad: these are some of the phrases they use to describe a bully. “And maybe they have been bullied too and get angry and can’t control themselves,” Laila Blew says.
A couple of the students have stories of being bullied, including being punched on the school bus, where the bus driver is typically busy thinking about driving and can’t watch the kids.
“My brother and sister have also been bullied on the Internet because people say on their pictures ‘That’s not funny’ or ‘That’s not cool. Stop being on the Internet,’” Gakhi Clayton says.
Cyberbullying is particularly easy because there is little risk of being caught, they explain. “Cyberbullies are behind a computer screen, possibly wrapped up in a warm blanket, drinking hot cocoa. It doesn’t seem like bullying,” Gonzalez-Cruz says.
Some of the students give less obvious examples of bullying, like a person not taking good care of an animal, stealing someone’s work online, or firing an employee for no reason and with no explanation. “There can be super old bullies. It’s not just kids,” Spencer Caplan says. Sometimes bullies wear leather jackets and a lot of black like Grease, Lillian Moyer describes. Other times bullies cannot be picked out from a crowd.
Sometimes people can also be mistaken for bullies if they don’t have friends. “It’s possible for someone to be really nice and have no friends and sometimes if you’re picked on a lot, no one wants to be your friend,” Gonzalez-Cruz says. There is one student in their class who sits alone at lunch and a couple of the students have made an effort to include him.
Standing up to bullies can be intimidating, and thankfully the students report they don’t see much bullying at Bill Roberts. “If there is somebody getting bullied, I ask them to stop. They usually stop, but sometimes they don’t and if they don’t, I get a teacher or get someone to solve the problem,” Joey Thomas says.
They do warn not to attempt confronting a gang of bullies, though, because that is dangerous.
After the protest, the students hung their signs throughout the school to remind everyone there is zero tolerance for bullying. The school has also installed RAKtivists stations around the school, which promote Random Acts of Kindness. A student can write an inspirational note and leave it at the station for a student who is having a bad day.