Students Show Winning Bullying Video to Council
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Using an iPhone, three Westlake Middle School students wrote, directed and acted in a video meant to highlight the consequences of bullying and the importance of being an ally to someone.
Anabelle Corkran, Haley Wagner and Samantha Carpentier showed the video at the Broomfield City Council meeting last week.
“We realize we all had our own story about bullying and we realized us being friends was like us being allies because it stopped the bullying,” Carpentier said. “We wanted to show that at the end of the video. How one action can lead to a domino effect of possibilities.”
The video shows a girl reading insulting comments written on notebook paper left in her locker, and later, a girl shoving her against the locker.
By the end of the video, a third girl is putting her arm around her bullied friend.
Kathy Cochran, a counselor at Westlake, introduced the girls, who said they thought this video could help students and inspire people to stick up for others.
“You guys did a wonderful job on the video,” Ward 5 Councilwoman Guyleen Castriotta said. “It takes a lot of courage to do that and come here and speak. And you’re right — courage is contagious.”
Other council members thanked the girls for their hard work on the video and called it “powerful emotionally.” Ward 2 Councilwoman Sharon Tessier suggested sharing it with other schools to help create a “ripple effect” of change.
“Last year, when this whole idea started, we had planned to do month-long activities about becoming more aware,” Principal Rachel Heide said. “It’s bullying prevention with a more positive spin.”
October, nationally recognized as bully prevention month, was spent with activities such as a school video contest and challenges that included wearing orange to promote “Unity Day” and painting a finger nail blue to represent someone’s desire to be an “ally” — someone who stands up against bullies.
Last year, the school came up with the idea for students to create videos to involve them to a greater degree, she said. The exercise was voluntary, Heide said, and was largely done outside of class time.
Last year’s theme was “what does bully prevention mean to students” and this year it was aimed more about being an ally.
The school ended up with five video submissions, most of which came as group projects.
Categories of videos were mean to show how peoples’ actions of bullying or excluding others affects the feelings and reactions of others by using symbolic and technical conventions and voice and audio.
Videos also could show multiple perspectives.
A team of people, including Heide, administrators and counselors, sat down and selected a winning video using a rubric they crafted. Earlier this month the winning team was invited to a special lunch with their parents, Heide, the district superintendent, one of the school counselors, and Mayor Randy Ahrens.
The winning video was shown to the entire school.
From the school they were given a certificate and gift cards as a prize, Heide said, and at the council meeting, they were given concert tickets to a show at the 1stBank Center.
While it’s hard to measure the impact these types of programs have on students, Heide said, they have launched conversations at the school among students and between students and adults in the building.
“Middle school is a place where we see bullying peak,” she said. “It’s a developmental age for students.”
Students start to call other students names, or call attention to height or other physical differences, and could start shoving or physically picking on one another.
“I think sometimes it can start with someone trying to be funny,” Heide said, “but over time, there’s a power difference between two people.”
Teachers at the school try to help students identify the difference between bullying and one-time teasing or instances of someone being rude.
“Bullying has to do with the difference of power and it happens over time,” Heide said.
Jennifer Rios: 303-473-1361, email@example.com or Twitter.com/Jennifer_Rios