On Dec. 10, which was a half-day of school in the Baldwinsville Central School District, Baker High School held a half-day anti-bullying event, "Stand Up! Don't Stand By!" to raise awareness among students about the impact that bullying behaviors have on individuals and the entire school, and to encourage students who witness bullying to speak out to stop it.
Students remained in their first-period classes for the morning, which began with a brief, teacher-lead discussion regarding the goals of the program. Teachers also began a dialogue in each classroom about what actions students perceive as bullying behaviors in the high school.
Baker's entire student body watched a bullying presentation that senior Alex Nagy created from six student-submitted videos and various clips from the Internet. Three of the student-submitted videos were made by Mrs. Nicole Alberico-Farrs Spanish classes, and the others were produced by Kaia Reynolds, Catrina Ribblett and Holly McMahon, with the aid of their peers who acted as writers, directors, videographers, film editors and actors. The video presentation was a segue into a discussion of the consequences of bullying, non-acceptance and intolerance of differences and how these all impact the high school's learning environment on a daily basis.
After the video presentation, students worked in groups or as a whole class to create messages expressing their commitment to strengthening Baker's environment of acceptance and tolerance. Many of the messages were words of encouragement to those who are bullied as well as messages of regret and remorse from those who have participated in bullying behavior or have silently stood by as it occurred. These messages were mostly written on posters that were displayed in the classrooms and hallways.
To wrap up the morning's activities, students and staff moved out into the hallways to form a human chain. As music played, they passed around beach balls, on which they wrote messages regarding acceptance each time the music stopped. Staff instructed students to read the messages and reflect on the meaning behind them.