By Jeff Gallatin
An eight-minute video made by three North Olmsted Middle School students will be going national soon as part of an educational advocacy program’s efforts to help students stand up to bullying.
Middle school officials held lunch period presentations for all students at the school Friday showing the video “Post-It Revolution” done by eighth-graders Hannah Caruso, Grace English and Jasmine Hasanain, who are WEB (Where Everybody Belongs) program leaders. The Friday sessions culminated two weeks of work on the Stand Up! Stand Out! challenge designed to help students learn about what motivates bullies as well as how a student can avoid or escape being the target of bullies. The challenge program also notes the stigmas attached to bullies and the bullied as well as advice for handling social cruelty and bullying and what doesn’t work.
Middle school Principal Tom Dreiling said the trio’s video and other efforts come as part of the Stand Up! Stand Out! work for the Boomerang Project, a national anti-bullying program. The WEB leaders have worked with their fellow students and teachers Claudia Bestor and Erin Mohar on how to respond to social cruelty and bullying in school, as well as how to think and act with greater empathy and compassion in all settings.
“I’m so proud of these girls right now, I could bust,” Dreiling said. “They’re all really good at working with their fellow students on the anti-bullying message. They came up with this video and the ideas in it on their own as part of the work they were doing as WEB leaders. They came to us and wanted to know how they could help get the message it has out there to other people.”
Dreiling said after viewing the video, district officials decided to show it to all the other middle school students as well as to the Boomerang Project officials.
“They liked it so much that it’s going to become part of the national training for other students involved in this,” Dreiling said. “That’s quite an honor for these students.”
A link to the video can be found at https://www.dropbox.com/s/f6ccokiqoq63kma/Post-it%20revolution.wmv.
Much of the information presented comes from the PACER Center, an advocacy organization for children with disabilities, which runs the National Bullying Prevention Center.
During the luncheon presentations, Dreiling and the other adult staff showed the video and praised efforts to curb bullying. The session also included recognizing and honoring random acts of kindness done by various middle school students.
“Embrace your differences,” Dreiling said. “Everybody has something that makes them special.”
Jim Carbone, the North Olmsted city police school resource officer who works with district students, said having many different people in North Olmsted and the Greater Cleveland area helps make them special.
“It would be pretty dull if everybody was the same,” Carbone said. “Enjoy the differences and learn something from the other people different than you.”
Mohar, a math teacher, and Bestor, a language arts teacher, said the trio of WEB leaders said using the Post-It notes and words in the video was a good way of teaching and relating the anti-bullying message.
“It does a great job of delivering the message to others,” Bestor said.
Mohar said the students worked at finding unusual ways of getting the anti-bullying message across.
“Using the Post-Its is pretty unique but very effective,” she said. “In addition to the video they also put a lot of positive Post-Its notes all around the (Great Northern) Mall,” she said. “They wanted to put them in a spot where there would be a lot of people.”
The trio said being friends with each other helped them work together on the video and the program overall. Hasanain said she became friends with Caruso after meeting her through her friendship with English.
Hasanain said one student gave her a great message after seeing the video at the luncheon assembly.
“She told me that she hadn’t done it before, but now she would be able to stand up to her bully,” she said.
The students said it took several days to put together the various video Post-It sequences and several hours to edit them in the sequence they wanted.
“It was a lot of work, but fun to work with other students on getting it done,” English said.
Caruso said finding the best way to deliver the message was important.
“We wanted to find a way that people would relate to and remember,” she said.