Elementary students create “upstander” club Students of Elm Grove Elementary school in Bossier City, LA created an anti-bullying club with the motto “Be an upstander not a bystander.” A dozen students who have felt the effects of bullying meet twice a month in Robin Webb’s 5th grade class to learn how to stand up against bullying, according to KSLA News. “It helps me know that I have other members that will help me if I’m being bullied,” 9-year-old Mathew told KSLA News. Webb started the club because her son, Orrin, who is now a soldier, had been bullied as a child.
Students from Watchung Hills Regional High School in New Jersey hosted a citywide event called White-Out to Erase Bullying. Students, teachers, residents, and even civic leaders participated by wearing white to make a simple yet powerful message against bullying. Watch the Not In Our School short film about this inspiring activity. After the White-Out, students reflected on the event and its impact. Here are four perspectives from Watchung students. “We all have a desire to initiate change in our communities, and at Watchung Hills, it is always stressed that we not only be good students, but we push ourselves to be upstanders in our school and our towns. We heard about the White-Out idea from our teachers and we immediately jumped at the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.”—Catherine, junior
Scott Hannah and Tyler Gregory make up the NoBull Guys, national spokespeople for The Great American NO BULL Challenge. Photo. Is it possible for two students to change the perspective that millions of youth have on bullying? We think so, in fact, we are doing everything it takes to be those two students. We call ourselves The NoBull Guys, and we are on a mission to inspire bravery and make the world a kinder place. We embarked on our journey when we heard about the suicide of 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer. We realized that this could have been anyone in our community, one of our friends, or one of our siblings. We wanted suffering victims of bullying to realize that they have a reason to live and that they are worth something to somebody, no matter who they are.
Soledad High School students come together to pledge against bullying. Photo Courtesy of Monterey County Office of Education.Soledad High School Assistant Principal Laura Eras and Intervention Specialist Myra Chavez called us from Soledad, CA, a small farming community located 25 miles southeast of Salinas. Using Not In Our School materials, they launched a weeklong anti-bullying campaign.
The NSLC group is composed of high school students. International students from American University's Discover the World of Communications summer program also participated in the activities. Photo. This summer, NIOS presented at UC Berkeley to high school students from the National Student Leadership Conference and American University’s Discover the World of Communications summer programs. Students from around the U.S. and as far away as Dubai, Syria, Australia, Korea and China shared their insights and learned more about the bullying prevention work of Not in Our School.
Scene from Light In the Darknes In Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness, we witness how students can become upstanders, even in the wake of violent hate crimes. The 60-minute documentary premiered on PBS in 2011, but is now available for purchase as a 27-minute classroom version. This film is extremely pertinent to the educational community for several reasons. In addition to the importance of learning about how the community came together to respond to hate, it brings up serious questions for educators, for example: How did these young people routinely participate in what they called "beaner-hopping" ("beaner" is a racial slur and "beaner-hopping" refers to beating up Latino immigrants) without their teachers and parents noticing? Why did other students who knew what was going on never speak up? What was the impact of the media's hateful rhetoric on the attitudes of youth in the schools? Educators across the U.S. have begun to use the film as a springboard for addressing issues of immigration, bullying, and teaching students to be upstanders (speak up and take action).
“We felt like we were part of something bigger, sharing what we were doing, and the idea of being leaders was very inspiring.” — Becki Cohn Vargas, Ed.D. Dr. Becki Cohn-Vargas is a veteran educator and longtime ally of Not In Our Town. In this piece, penned in 2008, Dr. Cohn-Vargas lays out the lessons from the Palo Alto Unified School District, which embraced Not In Our School activities in 2007. Although Dr. Cohn-Vargas is no longer with the district, she has been instrumental in developing Not In Our School programs and the Palo Alto district’s Not In Our Schools month continues to thrive. Since 2007, the Palo Alto Unified School District has sponsored Not In Our School Palo Alto, a districtwide annual month-long event where students, teachers, administrators and parents engage in activities and discussions about how to address hate, bullying, and harassment at school.
For Black History Month, we share this video, "Profiling Kevin," featuring a young man whose passion for racial and social justice leads him to engage his teachers and classmates about issues of diversity and equality in his school and community. Standing in a classroom at Palo Alto High School, 16-year-old Kevin tells his classmates, "We need to ... take a bite of the apple of knowledge and realize where we stand and where we need to go."
Tragedy Shapes Community Leadership Joselo Lucero never imagined that he would become a spokesperson and a symbol for community safety and immigrants’ rights. As he spoke Saturday night before the crowd gathered at the site of his brother’s murder one year earlier, the hundreds who had gathered despite inclement weather stood rapt.
The message of NIOT is Reaching the Classrooms and Schools of Bloomington-Normal, ILBy Marc Miller, NIOT Bloomington-Normal Member It’s parent night at at the neighborhood elementary school. Children, their parents in tow, rush from room to room, excited to show off their drawings and projects. Parents, anxious to know more about their children’s progress, take in the posters and decorations as they move from class to class. But for some, a simple table in the corridor attracts their attention. The banner draped over it says: Take a Stand Against Racism! Sign The Pledge. “What’s this?” says a student, and a table volunteer cheerfully describes the Not In Our Town program. There are No Racism stickers for notebooks and lockers; larger stickers for bumpers and windows; even temporary tatoos. For parents, there are refrigerator cards with talking points defining common terms: predjudice, stereotype, discrimination; and a simpler set of talking points aimed at the primary grades.