“We’ve all got both Light and Dark inside us…what matters is the part we choose to act on, that’s who we really are” ~ Sirius Black
“Our whole goal is to have them sign a petition and be aware that they pledge not to bully other students, not to call names and (to) intervene when it can be done safely and support efforts to end bullying and name-calling,”
SPRING HILL — Variously colored half-sheets of paper covered portions of two walls and a window in the Springstead High School cafeteria by the end of the lunch periods. The papers had been signed by students pledging to be kind to one another.
The pledges were a kickoff for Celebrate Kindness Week, a national activity sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Educational Network. Linda and Karen Schrader, secretary and president, respectively, of the local chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays facilitated the signup.
“I’m certified trained with GLSEN,” Linda Schrader, 54, said, as is her wife, Karen, 53, adding that the two organizations work together. There is a PFLAG group at Springstead for students that meets every Thursday at various times to accommodate the students’ schedules.
Celebrate Kindness Week was once known as No Name-Calling Week, and information about it can be found at no name calling week.
“Our whole goal is to have them sign a petition and be aware that they pledge not to bully other students, not to call names and (to) intervene when it can be done safely and support efforts to end bullying and name-calling,” Linda Schrader said.
Springstead social worker Sarah Reyes supported Celebrate Kindness Week “because our students need to feel acceptance, tolerance,” she said.
Since PFLAG has been at the school, she said, she has seen more openness among students. They are recognizing that although they all have differences, they also are all the same.
“This program has created such wonderful changes,” she said, suggesting that other schools could benefit from it as well.
- Ninth-grader Korinna Biedinger, 14, signed the pledge during her lunch period. “I signed it because I’ve watched so many people in the past being bullied, and I want to put a stop to it,” she said.
- Ninth-graders Alexis Martinez, 14, and Melody Weeks, 14, both signed because the bullying issue hits close to home for them. “In seventh grade, Melody and I both lost our friend, Miguel Rodriquez, from bullying. He was being bullied for a long time, and no one knew,” Alexis said. “He never told anyone,” Melody said. “No one noticed anything until he died. The whole school was silent that whole day. Miguel was one of the youngest kids, which made it more sad to lose him.” The girls explained that Miguel committed suicide as a result of the bullying. “It was just a bunch of name-calling,” “I signed the pledge,” Melody said, “to make sure no child has to go through what Miguel did and no mother has to lose a child.”
- Alexis said she signed the pledge because “I don’t want people getting hurt and committing suicide again.”
- For freshman Jasmyn Benton, 14, signing was more simple. She participated, she said, because “I’m a nice person.”
- Sophomore Rianna Pierce, 15, signed the pledge and said she is a member of PFLAG.
- “I joined because of what it was, a way to support people,” she said, adding that she likes letting people know they are accepted.
By the end of the day, 501 students and staffers had signed pledges. The walls were very colorful.
Springstead students sign pledges to be kind, stop bullying Wednesday, January 21, 2015