Assembly to prevent bullying

Students at Bookcliff Middle School raise their hands to show support at an anti-bullying assembly Monday afternoon.

Kylee Castle, a 7th grade literacy teacher at Bookcliff Middle School, wants her students to understand that the cycle of bullying not only includes the victim and the perpetrator, but the bystander as well.

She gathered the students into the gymnasium Monday afternoon to discuss bullying, what it can do to people, and how to stop it.

She shared a poem written by a 14-year-old discussing how sad his parent’s divorce was making him. The poem said “They will find happiness and I will find loneliness.”

“All of you are fighting a life behind these walls,” Castle said as she explained the importance of getting to know other students before passing judgement upon them.

The victim and the bully, she explained, experienced the same emotions. They feel alone, so in tormenting another, they don’t feel as alone, she said.

But, the bystander in that situation hold all of the power toward change. The bystander can choose to tell someone, refuse to participate, and befriend the victim, she said.

“How many of you have ever said, written or texted something negative about somebody?” she asked, watching as nearly every student admitted to teasing each other.

“How many of you have ever had something negative said, written or texted about you?” she asked, again receiving a wide response of raised hands.

Castle’s point was that every student at some point had played the role of bully, victim or bystander. “I want you to be aware of the roles you’re playing,” she said.

You’re actions do matter, she told the students, before confessing that the boy who wrote the original poem in her presentation had been her middle school science partner.

“I was not a good friend to him,” she said through tears as she told the students that she had found the poem two days after his death by suicide. “I was a bystander. I heard them tease him. After 20 years, it still bothers me,” she said.

The students vowed to support each other and were offered an anonymous box near the office where students could express their concerns or ask for help if a situation became overwhelming.

“Sometimes its easier to write it down and let an adult help you,” Castle said.



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