Anti-Bullying Day Flash Mobs 2012 Edition!

Last year, on Anti-Bullying day, David Loyd George Elementary and Churchill Secondary School combined to create a moving and powerful flash mob to bring awareness and understanding to Bullying issues in our schools today.  This amazing video went viral, with over 800,000 views! Everyone was talking about the impact of this flash mob and their video, and how much awareness it brought to this very important issue that effects all of us.  There were pink shirts everywhere and there was people talking about what we can all do to help eradicate bullying wherever it might pop-up.

Well, not to be out-done, but this year, the same group of students and teachers combined with more schools from around the lower-mainland, BC and even New York to create this years Flash Mob!  Please, watch (and share!) this fantastic video that involves more students, more schools, and more people in helping share the knowledge and understanding that if we all work together, in unison, we can defeat the bullies around us!  When is Anti-Bullying day?  Its tomorrow, Feb 29th, 2012!

You can view the video directly on youtube by clicking this link

Also adding to the momentum this year for Anti-bullying day is the Richmond, BC School District, as they combined over 500 students, staff and teachers from the whole district to show their united front against bullying.  Their video was filmed in a local mall, over 3 levels and is a very powerful demonstration of what we can all accomplish by working together to achieve something great!

You can view this video directly on youtube by clicking this link 

 

Also, not to be left out, I’ve just found a third flash mob, this one performed by students from  Reynolds Secondary School, Arbutus Middle School and Cedar Hill Middle School in Victoria, directly in front of the Legislature.  They found a way to work together, in unison to show their support and efforts at eradicating bullying!  Way to go!

You can view this video directly on youtube by clicking this link

Please, watch these videos, share them with your family and friends, and talk about these issues about bullying with everyone you can.  Don’t let bullying go by without intervening and letting the bullies know that you are not “OK” with this!  Stand up for your fellow students, help eradicate bullying and get your dance on!

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Jonah’s Video-‘What’s Goin On’- The Raw Response and Reaction to Bullying in Schools

The title of this YouTube video definitely does not mirror the intensity of the emotion and honesty that Jonah Mowry, a young boy who has suffered from bullying, describes in his four minute video, which every student, parent, educator, and administrator should watch. This video starts with Jonah holding up a card and asking the viewer, “ I look happy, right?” and you can tell by Jonah’s facial expression that something is deeply wrong. He then goes on to discuss his emotional and psychological battle with bullying in school in which he shows viewers his scars of cutting himself and honestly admits to trying to take his life, which all began in Grade 1! Jonah openly cries and you can see that he is scared of what is to come in Grade 8 and you cannot help but want to reach through the computer screen and tell this child that everything will be ok. But will it really?

There are thousands of students in the Lower Mainland and around the world who suffer from bullying on a daily basis. Many, much like Jonah, put on a mask that everything is ok, but underneath are dying inside. It is the constant battle of peer acceptance and rejection that has caused students to feel this way. As a society, what can we do to help these children and students who feel this way? There has to be a greater plan or means of intervention for these children who feel that everyone hates them and they have nowhere to turn.

Fortunately, in this video, Jonah writes that he has decided to live his life as it is worth living, but there are many students who just “cannot do this anymore” and cannot live with the pain and torment of bullying and decide to take their own lives. Celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Ellen DeGeneres have discussed at length the brutality of bullying in schools and Lady Gaga even went as far in an article on November 25th, 2011 on CBC to state that she wanted to work “as hard as I can to make bullying a hate crime”. But when will the school culture change to be the warm, welcoming and accepting place that it should be for all children? When will a child actually feel safe to be at school without being harassed or bullied? There really is not one solution to this massive issue in schools but hopefully, with time, students like Jonah will come to see that no matter what others say, they are special and deserve to be unique and accepted at school and in the world that we all live in.  See our section on Cyber-Bullying if you want to learn more about this important issue, or need to seek help!

Karla Castro December 2011

What’s Going on

Flash Mobs & Social Media: Working together to Stop Bullying!

Please watch this AWESOME YouTube video of a large group of students from David Loyd George Elementary and Churchill Secondary in the Vancouver School District.  They created a wonderful Flash Mob at Oakridge Mall in Vancouver, BC to help fight against Bullying and to celebrate International Anti-Bullying Day.  This huge Flash Mob successfully gathered in an open area and performed a fantastic dance number to a powerful song!  This video was very well done and captures some of the crowd’s reaction [amazement] as well as the pure joy the Churchill and David Loyd George students were having.  They’ve issued the challenge to all other schools:

USE SOCIAL MEDIA AS A POSITIVE TOOL!

Also, be sure to check out our “Cyber-Bullying” page along the top toolbar if you would like to check out more resources, tips,  and links.  Don’t forget about Pink Shirt Day! Coming up soon, Feb 23rd!

To Block, or not to Block, that is the Question!

Should Schools Block Social Media?

This is a huge issue in the education world right now, with teachers, students, administration, support services, IT departments and researchers offering advice and suggestions on how best to move forward on the issue of Social Media in schools. This post will try to frame the issue in a way that explains its importance, best-practice and larger perspective to help us make the best decisions which are guided under the premise of “helping our students prepare for the world they are going to inherit and assume”.

Everyone who is involved with the education world has some input or suggestions on how to address this issue in their learning environments. Traditionally, and specifically in our School District, Vancouver, we had blocked the use of Social Media (Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Ning, etc). Now, changes have been made, and many of these sites are now open and available to students. This was the result of our new Superintendent and his vision of the new information based world our students are going to graduate into.

From some perspectives, it makes a lot of sense to block these sites, as some studies have shown increased productivity among students, as they would stay more on task if the distractions are removed. While there is some merit to this, I think that ultimately, we need to teach children how to succeed in a world full of distractions, as they will be suffering much greater consequences later in life if they have not learned the importance of self-regulation (fired from job).  Students need to learn the art of moderation while still in a safe environment with low consequences.  We do not want to graduate students who are not mature, empowered or enabled into the adult world, as they will end up falling on their faces, and making much more dire mistakes.  Education is essentially about preparing our students to be independent, enabled and empowered, not dependent on outside mechanisms for self-regulation. 

A different perspective would be to look at the act of filtering as a political act that in effect censors students from free and unfettered access to information. If a school board decides to block a critical website, or resources that they may not agree with, is that representative of a democratic society? Because there might be critical groups on facebook, does that mean the entire platform should be blocked?  School districts should be non-partisan, open, and reflective of the larger democratic world that we all appreciate and enjoy.  We do need services to block information that is harmful (pornography, malware, virii, etc), but that can be and is done effectively by the Provincial Learning Network, the larger, province wide filtering system.

Another angle to look at this is through the eyes of resource preservation. Bandwidth is a finite commodity and if it is all used up with youtube videos and facebook surfing, there would not be enough left for more school based research or other academic focused activities. This exact issue has come up in other formats previously. In most school libraries, there are a few select resources that are always being taken out (Guinness book of World Records, Harry Potter series, Twilight series, etc). Now, when Teacher-Librarians noticed this increase in use, they took special measures to make sure these resources could be made more available to all. They bought more copies (increased bandwidth), they created wait-lists (queuing) and they put the books in the reserve section (cache-ing). They did everything they could to keep these popular resource in circulation for most students. Why shouldn’t this approach be used with the most popular internet sites?  Using this library analogy, blocking social media sites because of their popularity would be the equivalent of removing the most widely read and used books from our school libraries.   We need to adequately fund our district infrastructure so that we can provide these information based resources to our students.

Finally, I think the most important angle to examine this issue is through the lens of preparing our students for the world they will inherit.  Students are using Social Media now, on their own smart-phones, on school computers, at internet cafes, on their friend’s computers and at home.  They are interacting with friends, family, other students, corporations, organizations, and other groups.  Many students are making catastrophic mistakes, posting inappropriate material, losing jobs and employment opportunities, and alienating themselves from other social groups, BECAUSE they have not been taught how to safely and properly use Social Media.  If we continue to ignore the social media usage, assuming students “know what to do”, then we, as educators and parents, are letting them down.  It is our job to teach how, what, where, when and why about Social Media.  If we don’t, who will?

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