In an attempt to address a prevalent issue, Ola High School held their first ever anti-bullying pep rally to bring attention to the unfair behavior students deal with.
“We are quite frankly trying to be proactive by getting the message out there and making sure our students feel safe at school physically and emotionally,” Charles Chavous, assistant principal, said.
With social media being an immense part of students’ lives, more cyberbullying takes place. Some students take advantage of the fact that they are behind a screen and that there will be little to no consequences.
“What we are seeing more and more is that most of the bullying is taking place outside of school via the internet and social media, however as a school, it is our job to educate those that we serve about the dangers of mean and harsh behavior and to promote positive and loving behavior,” Chavous said.
Most teenagers tend to forget that it is not just harsh words on a screen, but it really does have an effect against the person on the other side. Ola believes parents of the students should be more consistent on checking their students social media.
“We just want to pull away from the stigma that it’s all about social media, and doing it for laughs and likes, and that it actually has an emotional attachment and there is someone on the other end of that laugh or like that’s being hurt, it’s all about informing the community and soliciting help from parents because they have the greatest access to students who aren’t with us, and also checking in on their students social media,” Chavous said.
With that being said, the administrative team wants to use the pep-rally as a place to make the entire community, not just the student body, aware of recurring issues such as bullying and giving as much insight on ways to put an end to it for good.
“My goal is that it affects the entire community in a positive way, and the main way to reach this goal is A, being knowledgeable about situations, we add that to the saying ‘you know better, you do better’ so we make sure we are first informing people of how we treat each other and how we should treat each other, and making others feel comfortable in the fact that you can choose love over hate and that it’s okay to love,” Chavous said.
A student, Anita Lucas, freshman, Is anticipating a positive outcome of the pep-rally. She hopes there will be a change in the behavior of the students, and to overall see a more comforting school environment.
“I’m unable to attend the pep-rally but I hope it opens up students eyes and they become more aware of their actions and words and how they affect other people,” Lucas said.
With high hopes as well, Tylisa Hill, assistant principal, is confident that spreading awareness about bullying and how badly it affects students will cause a major improvement in the behavior that occurs inside and outside of school.
“Bullying is something that can lead to various types of major situations, and we want to make sure everyone is aware of those potential situations because awareness brings redirection, so we are going to redirect in a positive way,” Hill said.
Although the whole point of the pep-rally is to raise awareness and eliminate bullying as a whole, the school isn’t opposed to holding an anti-bully pep rally every school year.
“If we have to hold a pep-rally every year that’s fine. If we get it right this time and diffuse a lot of situations from occurring because we are all aware, it will be best for us all to celebrate the fact that we’re aware and that we are going to promote unity,” Hill said.
With bullying being such a serious topic and could lead to tragic events, bringing not only the school but the community as a whole together in solidarity will hopefully minimize the cruelty that students face daily, and create a more positive and safe school environment
“Whenever something positive occurs, there is a positive outcome. I feel that the pep-rally will affect the community and student body in a positive way,” Hill said.
With optimism for leading school years, Ola is working everyday to better both the school and community as a whole, and continue to be persistent believers that to love is easier than to hate.