Thursday, November 15, 2012

One School's Incredible Anti-Bullying Campaign

Know what really sucked for me? Well, a few things, actually:

1. Giving birth
2. High school
3. The time I chased my gerbil across the road and got hit by a car (Of course I'm serious. I couldn't make something that random up if I tried.)
4. My unfortunate and thankfully short-lived obsession with 90's dance music
5. Did I mention high school?

I've spoken a few times about my misadventures in bullying (or, rather, being bullied), and I don't want to beat a dead horse. But for those of you who are just tuning in, here's the gist of things:

I went to high school (in case that wasn't obvious). I was teased very badly by a rather vocal and persuasive student body. And that was almost as bad as the times when they simply wouldn't talk to me. I never felt so alone in my life.

Things came to a head when a couple of girls thought it would be hilarious to set my shirt on fire - yes, the one I was wearing - in front of the school. Many students witnessed the event. Nobody did a thing to stop it. Thankfully I wasn't physically hurt. But emotionally? That stuff stays with you for life. And not just the big things, but all of it; every taunt, shove and bit of exclusion. All of it.

My parents pulled me out of the school after that incident and enrolled me in another. Things got worse before they got better, but they did get better. And I'm here to talk about it today, which is something I'm very grateful for, as I was a late bloomer in awesomeness and it would have been a shame not to be able to share me with the world. Life would be less fabulous for so many people.

Anyway, this isn't all about me, for once; It's about the kids at Intrepid's school and the amazing thing they've done.

The campaign is called Not In My School, and it was launched today at D'Arcy McGee High in Gatineau, Quebec. Students made a video and are sporting pink tuques to promote the movement and its anti-bullying stance. They gave me one, which is totally rad. I felt so hip when I put it on.

A few things I immediately realized after putting it on:

1. I think I'm too old for tuques.
2. Contrary to what I've believed all my life, hats do not hide bad hair days. My whole world is a lie.
3. These kids care, they're empowered, and they want to change things for the better. They make me feel as good about life as snuggling fluffy purple bunnies in a field of chocolate tulips. Um, theoretically.
4. Dammit. I AM seriously too old for tuques, aren't I?
5. Sigh. Someone pass the chocolate tulips.

The powerful student-made video posted above is definitely worth watching and sharing. The school's goal is to take this campaign beyond their own walls, beyond our own country. By sharing it you're helping to do just that. And that means you're doing your part to help every kid feel safe at school. How about that? You're an office chair hero! I'm glad I could help.

So hats off - or, rather, on - to the students, staff and principal George Singfield at D'Arcy McGee and Symmes Junior High - for taking big steps to improve the lives of kids in our community and beyond. You're even more fabulous than I am.

(Although I'll deny it if you ask me. Especially if you look better than I do in a tuque.)