"By the end of the year, the whole school was really pumped. One of the social workers in the school asked every club to take a section of the school and make it their anti-bullying zone. So the football team right away took the locker room, and the spirit club took the hallways, and so on."
Last year, our filmmakers documented anti-bullying efforts in Gail Price's classroom in the short film, "Students Map Bully Zones to Create a Safer School." Price is a Facing History teacher at Orange High School in Pepper Pike, OH.
Price discussed Facing History’s impact on her classroom, specifically in addressing the issue of bullying, at the Sixth Annual Cleveland Benefit Dinner, October 25, 2011. To read her entire speech, visit facing.org.
Last year my students thought it was important to address bullying in our school, and so they came up with a plan. First they researched where bullying occurs in our school. They passed out surveys to every student in the high school about where incidents of bullying take place, and from there they created a map of the school showing where most of the incidents occurred. Based on this map, students created awareness-raising posters for these areas and hung them up: signs like: “50 incidents of bullying occurred here: Put an end to bullying.” And they worked with our theater teacher to create a “flash mob” re-enacting the kinds of bullying incidents that occurred: cyber-bullying, spreading rumors, ostracism, and the like. Dressed in their specially-made T-shirts that said “Not In Our School,” the students performed their flash-mobs during lunch periods, and it inspired conversations about bullying throughout the school.
It had an amazing impact…so much so that in the spring, my second semester class came up with the idea of going down the elementary school in teams of four to teach younger kids about bullying, and they actually did lesson plans …and from that, my kids ended up in the Not In Our School video that Facing History classes are using all over the country.
There were many surprises along the way. One of my students had been suspended for bullying. I mean she was really a huge bully. If somebody looked at her wrong, she just got in their face. After this project was over she came to me saying, “I want you to start a program for all the kids who are in the developmentally disabled program, because kids bully them, and I want to be in charge of this,” so she went from being a bully to being a top anti-bullying advocate!
Another girl was just the opposite -- very quiet in class, didn't want to say too much; she was pretty quiet throughout this whole process. And then one day when we were in the middle of our project she came into class and she couldn't wait to talk. It so happened that she was walking in the hall the period before and there was a bigger kid that was bullying a smaller kid, and she picked up on it right away. She went up to him and she told him, “Stop it,” and he stopped. And they both just looked at her, they were younger and she’s a senior and she told them to just cut that out, and they did it. When she walked into class and told us about—she was so excited—the class just burst into applause. She was so proud…we were all so proud.
By the end of the year, the whole school was really pumped. One of the social workers in the school asked every club to take a section of the school and make it their anti-bullying zone. So the football team right away took the locker room, and the spirit club took the hallways, and so on. That's carrying over to this year. In fact my students this year are already asking about when we will be implementing a bullying awareness project this semester!
Together, Not In Our Town and Facing History and Ourselves produced five films and accompanying lesson guides. This collaboration was made possible by the Einhorn Family Charitable Trust.