A character you probably know

Two juniors use character day to send a message.

Boutwell and Mills stand in their homemade character day costumes. The shirts said

Susan Bryan

Boutwell and Mills stand in their homemade character day costumes. The shirts said “I am” on the front and the back displayed the hurtful words they had been called.

Taylor Watkins , Staff Writer

Bruises covered their faces and t-shirts told the stories of their hurt, but when juniors Cassie Mills and Caroline Boutwell walked into school on Thursday their heads were held high.

People dressed at various characters were all around them but instead of dressing as their own favorite character Mills and Boutwell used this day to send an important message.

“We wanted to do something different so we decided to raise awareness to verbal bullying,” said Mills.

The girls found the idea on twitter from an anti-bulling campaign and decided that this was the time to share a noble cause.

Boutwell said, “we’re trying to show how verbal bullying is just as important as physical…abuse. It still takes a toll on you.”

You’re tearing someone down; they’re going to remember that for the rest of their life, and you don’t know what kind of effect it’s going to take on them.”

— Caroline Boutwell

They worked together on Wednesday night and wrote insults on the back of white t-shirts that they personally had been called or that they knew they had been called behind their backs. Then Thursday morning, with the help of some youtube videos, they went to work painting on bruises to show how words can beat you up like punches.

“Last night when we were making them we were talking about like the exact moments when we’d been called them. It’s really powerful and really hurtful. You go walking down the hallway and you heard people getting name-called left and right, and you don’t realize how much it means to someone when you do it,” said Boutwell.

One of their reason behind doing this was to show people who are bullied by other’s words that they aren’t alone and that verbal bullying is not okay. Boutwell said, “it helps when you know other people have been called it and then you can stand up together to fix the problem. I mean I know it’s not going to probably go away ever, but you can at least try to fix it.”

They wanted people to stand up against verbal bullying, and Mills said, “It doesn’t have to be something that no one ever talks about maybe…if you see someone being bullied in the hallway, regardless of whether they’re being hit or not…do something about it.”

The girls walked into school with mixed emotion. They knew they were doing something good and many teachers supported what they were doing, but nervousness presided in the back of their minds as they walked into school.”You never realize what you say can actually hurt somebody, but just having them know that it affected you enough to put it on a shirt,” said Mills.

“Honestly I was terrified to go into school this morning because I told people about it and they were like ‘that’s stupid to do for character day,’ and I was like ‘okay so already being shot down for that,’ and then going in looking like you’ve been beat up, people are staring at you and it draws attention to you so it’s kinda awkward” said Boutwell.

When asked what she was for character day Boutwell said, “I am someone that’s been abused with words.”

Word like fat, disgusting, gross, crude, two-faced, and Jesus freak were written on their backs, and on their faces they painted the words that had the most impact on them Boutwell’s said “failure,” and Mills’ said “ugly.”

“A lot of this has made me self-conscious about myself or had other issues and I’ve had to work through that like through my faith and stuff to know that it’s okay not to be perfect and some people aren’t going to like you and then you just have to deal with it,” said Boutwell.

While pointing to the back of her shirt Mills said, “right here I have ‘not black’ it’s like ‘have you seen me?’ I’m black but just because I don’t act black or the fact that I can read or the fact that I have a nice family they take that and say ‘oh well you’re white,’ It’d kinda like you’re tearing off a piece of me and throwing it in the trash.”

Boutwell described one of her backstories behind a word. She said, “they call me Jesus freak and one time someone was joking around and then they were like ‘I’m sorry to make fun of your God,’ and I was like ‘wow you’re calling me out.’ I mean it’s a good thing to be called out on, but it still had a negative tone to it made me feel bad.”

Through this experience, they have learned many lessons. “Watch what you say cause it does leave a mark on people’s lives,” said Boutwell.

Boutwell and Mills have thought about doing something similar on a bigger scale to really get the word out there. “We were thinking maybe later this year when they do stop the violence or anti-bullying and stuff we could do it again, so it would just be a random time and we’d bring it up,” said Boutwell.

“Every little thing, people can think about it, think about it, think about it and beat themselves up about it and it’s just not worth it,” said Mills.