Teacher Jessica Moore Leads Bolich's STAND Against Bullying: Names in the News
Patch caught up with Moore on Friday to discuss how the middle school is combating the bullying issue and what still needs to be done.
On March 14, over 100 Bolich students assembled on the school's front lawn to protest against bullying. Students said Bolich administrators weren't taking the problem seriously and demanded change.
Two months later, roughly the same number of students plus staff gathered in the courtyard to celebrate STAND week, an anti-bullying initiative set up, in part, by Bolich teacher Jessica Moore.
Patch caught up with Moore on Friday to discuss how the middle school is combating the issue and what still needs to be done.
Patch: What is STAND, why was the organization formed and how did STAND week come about?
Jessica Moore: The mission of STAND is to support beliefs of tolerance, acceptance, understanding, and diversity. This is done through education and activities that promote open-minded, non-judgmental ways of coexisting with others. We want to encourage people to be upstanders and spread kindness. The high school started a STAND group this year and it was so successful that we wanted to get the same positive energy going at Bolich. The STAND group at Bolich started to form about a month ago. We decided that STAND week would be a great way to show everyone what STAND is all about, which is creating a positive school climate.
Patch: What were the highlights of STAND week?
Moore: Staff kicked off STAND week by posting “No Bully Zone” signs on their doors and desks. These signs serve as an affirmation and lets students know that these are safe people to approach for support and guidance.
STAND students and staff wrote over 800 post-it notes with positive messages. On Monday morning students and staff were greeted with these messages on their lockers and classroom doors. Everyone in the building was given a “Fuzzy,” which was a yarn necklace. There were small pieces of yarn on the necklace that could be pulled off and given to others along with a compliment. On one day we posted 200 compliment posters with tear off compliments. Friday morning we had a flash mob in front of the building just before school started. At the end of the day Friday, students left to the song “We Are Family” blaring over the public address system. Overall the week was a very positive experience and one that the students and staff will remember.
Patch: Which activities/executions were received well by students, which weren't?
Moore: By far the most exciting part of STAND week was the flash mob on Friday morning before school started. We had somewhere around 200 students and staff participate. The post-it notes, Fuzzies and compliment posters were also very well received by the students. We had a day to dress inside out and backward to reverse hatred and that day didn’t seem to generate much participation.
Patch: With the summer soon approaching, what will Bolich staff do in the three month interim to prepare for next year's fight against bullying?
Moore: Rachael Muster, the high school STAND advisor, and I were recently awarded a grant from Safe and Drug Free Schools for $50,000! This grant will help students in all of the Cuyahoga Falls City Schools. Many of the details of the grant are being planned now and will be implemented in the 2012-2013 school year. One of the biggest pieces of the grant is that Rachel’s Challenge will be brought to every school in the district, including Bolich. The goal of Rachel’s Challenge is to inspire, equip and empower students from K-12 to make a positive difference in their world.
Patch: What can parents do to supplement the anti-bullying efforts of teachers/staff?
Moore: I think it’s important for parents to get involved and stay involved with their children. Communication is key. Parents have to talk to their children and make themselves aware of what is going on both in and out of school. When parents have concerns, they should voice them to the staff and administration if necessary. Too often parents say their child has been bullied but they have never reported it. We have to encourage children to speak up and to stop being bystanders when someone else is being bullied.