On Thursday, January 31st, the Gordon Russell students, staff, and community took a big risk; we began to openly discuss the effects of bullying. The assembly, Stand for Respect....Be The Change, was organized by teacher Tim Tetz, the Leadership Class, Student Council, and volunteers from the community. During the assembly, current and past students, along with adults, shared their stories about bullying. Some were from the perspective of the victim, some from the perspective of the bully. There was also a presentation given by Erin Van Horn-Wormer, whose sister committed suicide in Washington last spring due to bullying. It was an hour of emotional conversation and stories that were well received by all who were present.
Many may look at this assembly and say things like, "There is no way to stop bullying," "bullying is part of growing up," "that is just the way kids are," or "kids just need to buck up and quit being a victim." What I will say to those statements (and yes I have heard them before) is this, just because it has always been that way doesn't make it right. Yes, kids need to stand up, but it cannot be left solely to the victim. The underlying issue is that there needs to be an audience, casual on-lookers who empower the bully, bystanders who look upon the situation and think "glad that's not me." We are trying to instill in all of our students that the time is now to stand up against bullying behaviors, to take proactive steps to prevent unkind acts and statements, and to make their school a place that is safe and welcoming to all. We are encouraging all of our students to Stand For Respect and Be The Change.
"Some say I am a dreamer, but I am not the only one, someday you will join us, and the world will live as one." A famous line from Imagine by John Lennon truly applies. There is only one way to instill change, to alter ways of thinking, and that is to take a first step and join together with a cause. We have done that! I can't convey in a typed message how proud I am to be part of this school, to know that there are students and staff that are willing to open up to a new way of thinking, a community that is willing to donate money and time for a very worthy cause.
We can make our world, even though it may be limited to Gordon Russell at this time, a better place. It is up to us, it is up to us to impart this idea to our youth and teach them that they hold the power, that they can be the change, that they can make a difference. Everyone needs some change. Please take some time some time to ask your student about the assembly and gain their perspective.
I want to thank you all for your ongoing support, the work you do at home with our students, and for being a positive influence on the lives of those you come into contact with. The staff is very dedicated to serving your student(s), we have refined our focus this year on how we aim to improve student performance, and we are going to find ways to build stronger partnerships with our parents and community members. If you have any questions during the year, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 503.667.6900.