Students' videos focus on bullying
You can’t always tell what a victim of bullying looks like.
A computer literacy class at Carroll High School created videos about bullying. One video of about 20 submitted was chosen to compete at Governor Terry Branstad’s Bullying Summit in Des Moines. The chosen video was Melissa Miller’s, who is a freshman this year. From left to right: Kelli McCaulley, Shelly Hutchinson, Rylie Riesberg, Hannah Patterson, Micaela Bretey, Brent VanErdewyk, Melissa Miller, Bryce Widdel, Nate Danzer, Dakota Boyer, Dayton Hoffman, Maria Cullen, Blake Toms, James Dirkx and Jason Ramos.
Sometimes it’s a girl with strawberry-blond hair and hazel eyes.
Sometimes it’s a boy who’s smaller than everyone else.
Sometimes it’s you.
Students at Carroll High School created videos to help stop bullying.
About 20 videos were submitted for teachers to rate, and one of the videos, made by freshman Melissa Miller, was sent to Gov. Terry Branstad’s bullying-prevention summit.
The video begins with the blond girl’s face.
The words: “If you really knew me, you would know that I am called ugly and a worthless human being. Someone told me that if I died, no one would care,” flash over her face.
The video then moves to a picture of a boy. This time it says: “If you knew me, you would know that I hate school. I come home with bruises from big kids who think I am a punching bag. If I told teachers, they would beat me harder and call me a wimp and a snitch.”
The last picture is of a different blond girl. “If you really knew me, you’d know that I am called some terrible names. I spend more time crying in the guidance office than I do in classes. I leave early from every class so I can avoid the nasty words I hear in the hallway.”
The video goes on to ask, “If you really knew us, would you defend us? Are you one of us?”
Then it says, “Stand up for yourself! Stop bullying. Stand up for the silent! Be a friend! Love others!”
The video suggests that students begin anti-bullying clubs at schools to prevent bullying.
The stories in Miller’s video were made up, but for many the consequences of bullying are something they struggle with every day.
The students who made the videos in Kelly McCaulley’s computer literacy class said they found the project fascinating because they were able to see different perspectives on bullying through each other’s projects.
Micaela Bretey said she watched YouTube videos of real people struggling with bullying.
“We watched kids who were writing on flash cards, and they were talking about suicide,” Bretey said.
Bretey said she worked with a group to create her video.
Her group’s video told the story of a victim of bullying. She said the bullies in the video knocked books out of the victim’s arms and made rude comments to the victim while she was doing her hair in the bathroom.
Bretey said that at the end of the video they filmed a pair of shoes sitting on the ground and asked how it would feel to be in the victim’s shoes.
The videos were supposed to be about what the school is doing to stop bullying or how it could improve on its anti-bullying policies.
Miller said she added in a line her video about an anti-bullying club because she thinks it would be a place for students to create new friends.
She said if a person had more friends maybe they wouldn’t be bullied. She said if the person was still getting bullied at least they would know someone else cared and knew what they were going through.
Miller said the group could also help because some kids are afraid to go to teachers about bullying because they are afraid the bullying will just get worse.
The students all agreed that Carroll High School was trying its best to prevent bullying.
Bretey said about once a week students watch videos about bullying and talk about what they see outside of class.
She said most of the bullying happens online instead of in school so there’s only so much the school can do.
Bretey said that kids can now get online and send texts to other students and make it look like the text came from someone else’s phone.
The winner of the governor’s contest was Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn Middle School, which won $500 for its school. Its video is up to 37,165 views.
That shows a group of students on a bus with signs saying that 43 percent of reported bullying at HMS starts on the bus.
The video features seventh-grade students who call themselves the bionic bystanders who help a student get his backpack from a group of bullies who took it while on the bus.
The winning video at the summit was chosen by how many viewers it had during the summit.
Miller’s video had 746 views before the judging began.
Bullying is defined by the Iowa Code as: “Any electronic, written, verbal or physical act or conduct toward a student which is based on any actual or perceived trait or characteristic of the student which creates an objectively hostile school environment.”
To be considered bullying, the situation must either place a student in reasonable fear or harm to a student’s person or property, have a substantially detrimental effect on the student’s physical or mental effect, have the effect of substantially interfering with a student’s academic performance or have the effect of substantially interfering with a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities or privileges provided by a school.
Branstad has been making a push recently to end bullying in schools.
During the anti-bullying summit in Des Moines, Branstad launched a website with the Department of Education to allow students, teachers and parents to report incidents of bullying at their schools.
The website will release annual figures to school districts to give them an indication of how many students are being bullied.
The website is www.reportbullyingiowa.com.
Warning signs your child is being bullied:
— Student comes home from school with ripped clothing or damaged books.
— Student has bruises, cuts or scratches that he or she can’t explain.
— Student appears afraid or reluctant to go to school in the morning.
— Student chooses an illogical route going to and from school.
— Student has bad dreams or cries in his or her sleep.
— Student has lost interest in school or his or her grades suffer.
— Student appears sad or depressed or experiences unexpected mood shifts or irritability.
— Student requests more money from you than usual.
— Student seems socially isolated with few friends.
Warning signs your child could be a bully:
— Student has a strong need to dominate and subdues others. Student asserts himself or herself with power and threats to get his or her way.
— Student intimidates his or her siblings or kids in the neighborhood.
— Student brags about his actual or imagined superiority over others.
— Student is hot-tempered, easily angered, impulsive and has a low frustration tolerance.
— Student has difficulty conforming to rules or tolerating adversities and delays.
— Student is oppositional, defiant and aggressive toward adults, including teachers and parents.
— Student is antisocial or displays criminal behavior, often starting at an early age.
What parents can do:
— Remember that hitting back is never a choice at school and should not be encouraged.
— Encourage your child to walk away and tell an adult if he or she feels threatened or bullying.
— Talk about safe ways to act in different situations that might be dangerous. Identify safe houses or stores where a child can go.
— Give him or her a telephone number of an available adult to call if he or she is afraid or needs help dealing with a situation.
— Teach your child how to report bullying incidents in an effective way. Adults are less likely to perceive the child’s report as tattling if he or she includes what is being done to them that makes them feel uncomfortable, who is doing it, what he or she has done to try to solve the problem and a clear explanation of what he or she needs from the adult to get the bully to quit.
— Brainstorm and practice strategies with your child to avoid further victimization.
*courtesy of www.greatschools.org
Students at Carroll High School were asked questions about bullying. 346 freshmen, sophomores and juniors took the survey. The Carroll Community School Board shared the results of the survey during a meeting in August.
The following are the results of the answers.
Have you ever been bullied?
If yes, how often?
If it happened at school, where?
Locker Room: 43
Have you seen others being bullied at school?
If yes, how often did it happen?
Where have you seen others bullied:
Locker Room: 90
What kinds of bullying have been done to you?
Name Calling: 256
Physical Contact: 81
How much of a problem is bullying for you?
A lot: 40
Not much: 132
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