Thurston High School Takes the Not in Our School Pledge
By Darron Crump and Brianna Strozier
Doc loves to boost his ego by bullying others, but one day he went too far when he went after Snow White asking her if she got her clothes from the “loser store.” Some dwarfs laughed, one quickly posted the story on snap chat, and one bystander dwarf just wanted it to all go away. Two dwarfs took a different approach though. The upstanders stood up to the bully by letting him know that this was not okay in their school.
During their first official meeting of the 2016-2017 school year, NIOS (Not In Our School) had student and adult committee members role play the above scene. The roles were quickly evident and could be part of any high school bullying scene at any school in the world.
Ms. Kim Jackson, Thurston High School Social Worker, is the head chairperson of Thurston’s NIOS.
“I wanted to influence our student community at Thurston to be accepting of differences. I thought it would be nice for students to make a group change to the student culture. It takes a lot of planning and I have lots of staff members helping out with everything, but I also want to make the program sustainable for the student body to be able to run it as well,” said Jackson.
During jumpstart, students pick up their schedules, get id pics, and complete other tasks before the start of a new school year. At one of the stations, students were asked to take the pledge.
“I make a COMMITMENT to take a stand against bullying. I will treat others with RESPECT and KINDNESS. I will have the COURAGE to not be a bystander. It is my RESPONSIBILITY to show COMPASSION and TOLERANCE.”
Not only were students asked to sign the pledge, anyone who wanted to join the NIOS committee could sign up. Over 60 students are part of the committee along with seven Thurston staff members.
In addition to providing a safe place for discussion, NIOS students will be trained in leading a school community that stands up to bullying and intolerance in their schools.
Recently, members of the committee learned about a new app created by a young teen who was once bullied. The app is called Sit with Us and was created by 16 year old Natalie Hampton so no student ever has to sit alone at lunch again.
“When you walk into the lunchroom and you see all the tables of everyone sitting there All Things Considered.and you know that going up to them would only end in rejection, you feel extremely alone and extremely isolated, and your stomach drops. And you are searching for a place to eat, but you know that if you sit by yourself, there’ll be so much embarrassment that comes with it because people will know and they’ll see you as the girl who has nowhere to sit. So there’s so many awful feelings that come along with it,” said the app creator on NPR’s radio show All Things Considered.
This 16 year old proves that young people can change the culture of a school. The students of NIOS are one step closer to building a similar community at Thurston.