SGA and School Culture Committee plan student activities for National Bullying Prevention Month


courtesy of Tracy Bozzonetti

Photography 4 student, Kat Gerogiannis, created a symbolic representation of tolerance and equality.

by Lauren Hall, Reporter

Before the school year began, the SGA determined their theme “Be Kind.”

SGA president, Jack Dubro, said, “A community survey concluded that many think that Linganore could be a more tolerant place, so that’s where the theme came from.”

This theme was shared with the faculty and staff and has been embraced in the School Culture Committee.

PREP groups have already seen the John Cena video and created tolerance posters in, but much more is to come.

This past weekend, going along with the “Be Kind” theme, Linganore has installed kindness sayings on the main stairwells.

Several projects are underway, but in honor of October being National Bullying Prevention Month, student activities are being planned for the week of October 23, according to Mr. Andrew McWilliams.

October 23:  Students will create a display in the cafeteria of “Words that Encourage.”

October 24: Students will have the opportunity to share inspirational quotes and pictures in sidewalk chalk at lunch.

October 25: All students and staff are encouraged to wear orange.

According to PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, wearing orange on October 25 will be representative of “Unity Day: Together against bullying. United for kindness, acceptance and inclusion.”

Students can pick up a Unity Day sticker near the main stairs before school.

October 26: Students will engage in a round-table discussion at lunch to share ideas of how to address the problems of bullying and exclusion.

October 27: Students will have the opportunity to sign a pledge to be an up-stander, not a bystander. This means that instead of standing by bullying, students will stand up and speak out.

The purpose of the School Culture Committee, according to co-organizer McWilliams, is to develop an atmosphere of kindness and compassion among students and staff.

Mrs. Leslie Byrd, a member of the School Culture Committee, came up with the idea to make videos that would reach the student body. The next project to come from the School Culture Committee is going to be featuring the staff.

The video will show the diversity of the staff’s backgrounds and what makes them all different from one another. Members of the staff will come forward and say “I am Mr/Ms ____, I am ____ and I am Linganore.” Then, students will have the opportunity to come forward about their own diverse qualities that make them different from others.

Mr. Darren Hornbeck, member of the School Culture Committee, who first suggested viewing the John Cena video, said, “I would like these videos to help students understand the beauty of diversity and the joy someone can receive from being around people whom are different than them.”

Mr. Pat Greene, member of the School Culture Committee, said, “I’d like the student body and staff to think outside of their groups and realize that we live in a community of all different backgrounds.”

McWilliams would like Linganore to “continue its strong tradition of enthusiasm and positivity, but work on being more inclusive of all students.”

McWilliams also stated his personal goals for these lessons; “I would love for our students to recognize two things. First, not everyone is the same, or has the same interests, background, amount of money, athletic skill, academic ability, musical talent, etc. But, everyone has value; everyone has something to contribute; everyone deserves respect; everyone merits acceptance; everyone belongs. It is the variation, not the sameness, that makes us strong as a community. We can learn from each other and be better people from that diversity when we recognize that different is not bad.

Second, I think that we need to develop a greater heart of service and compassion. Our staff and students have a lot; a beautiful facility, great technology, a supportive community, and near-limitless social opportunities. We are a privileged school and need to guard against that privilege turning into entitlement. I believe we need to take our riches—of finance and of opportunity— and share them with others, not lord them over others.”