The Not In Our Town film crew had the pleasure of joining the city of Lancaster, Calif. during its Not In Our Town Anti-Bullying Week, a collaboration between the city and four primary and secondary school districts. And we weren't the only ones. Check out Fox 11's story and broadcast, "Lancaster High Students Drown out Bullying—Literally" here. Look forward to our upcoming Not In Our Town video featuring Lancaster's homegrown Not In Our Town Anti-Bullying program. Here's a sneak peek from our footage: About Not In Our Town Lancaster:
What began as one educator’s effort to create a safer environment for her middle school campus has blossomed into a citywide movement. Next week, Lancaster, Calif. will promote an anti-bullying message geared at the city’s 50,000 students and will memorialize those lost to school bullying. The city, at its Oct. 26 city council meeting, dedicated the week of Nov. 15-19 to the Not in Our Town Citywide Anti-Bullying program. During the first days of the week, 200 student ambassadors from the four primary and secondary Lancaster school districts will conduct anti-bullying activities at their 20 home campuses. Students will perform a musical dramatization, "Darkness to Light Memorial Service," at the Lancaster Performing Arts Center on Nov. 17. The strength of the anti-bullying program, according to counselor Lauri Massari, lies in student involvement. Massari, an educator with nearly 30 years of experience, launched the program at Del Sur Middle School last year. She tapped students in her True Leaders program, which focuses on peer instruction. “Kids create change on campus, not adults,” she says. “Kids create the culture that’s important to them.”
Why do you care about standing up to hate and intolerance? This is the question Not In Our Town is posing with a new video campaign, and we want YOU to be a part of it! We're asking you to make a video response to tell your story of why you're ready to stand up to hate. Make your video: Make a video telling us in 1-2 sentences why YOU personally feel inspired to take a stand against hate and intolerance. You can do this any way you like: use your flip cam, cell phone camera, laptop, or even make a text video. Then upload your video response to our YouTube video campaign page. Finally, share the video with at least 3 friends- you can use the "send to a friend" button below or, Facebook is also an easy way to do this! We are exciting to see your video! Want to participate, but feeling stumped? Here are some writing prompts to get your ideas, feelings, and thoughts flowing. Write whatever comes to mind and let it flow. After this brainstorm, you will come up with your 1-2 sentence answer, but for this part, just write what comes to mind.
This week in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, we are highlighting three stories of youth standing up to intolerance and violence. Spread the Peace (Mother Caroline Academy) Ariana's brother was killed in a drive-by shooting. Most of her classmates at Mother Caroline Academy in Dorchester, Massachusetts have been affected by violence. After watching "Not In Our Town" in a Facing History class, Ariana and her peers launch their own neighborhood “Spread the Peace” campaign to help stop the violence. (11 min 13 sec) Students Teach Students to Stand Up to Bullying At Shaw High School in East Cleveland, OH, students in Lori Urogody-Eiler's Facing History and Ourselves class mentor younger students in how to be an upstander, not a bystander, when faced with bullying and intolerant acts. (5 min 47 sec)
We were honored to witness students from Shaw High School in East Cleveland, Ohio as they trained elementary school students to stand up to bullying. Last week, NIOT producer Kelly Whalen and I traveled to Cleveland to film Not In Our School segments at two local high schools. Peer to peer learning is a core practice in Lori Urogody-Eiler’s Facing History class—and her students have found a way to pass on her methods. Alana Ferguson remembers the regular harassment she received for being “too studious” in elementary school. Alana shared a story about being thrown into a trash can, and told her fellow students how painful it was to go to school and stay focused on her school work. The perpetrators include some of her current classmates in Ms. U’s class.
Students from Palo Alto spoke passionately about their experiences dealing with ethnic and anti-gay slurs and cyberbullying at a Not In Our Schools event held at the Media Center last month. The school-community conversation focused on bullying and strategies for how to be an upstander. Here is a powerful example from the event. A high school student talks about being the target of an ethnic slur on Facebook as part of a conversation about cyberbullying. The event started off with The Working Group’s film Not In Our School: Palo Alto, which features leaders behind last year’s “Not In Our Schools” month, as well as highlights from the different activities across the district. Following the film, Becki Cohn-Vargas from the Palo Alto Unified School District led the group in discussion, touching on hate slurs, bullying, and standing up to make schools safe and inclusive. Here is a teacher talking about her experience confronting hateful comments in her classroom: