Photo courtesy of Maura A. DeRiggi
A sixth grade student at Propel NORTHSIDE came up with the acronym T.H.I.N.K. to remind fellow students to comprehend the damage their words might cause.

 

By Alyse Horn

With the advancement in social media comes a large responsibility to educate youth in how to protect themselves from anonymous bullies online.

While stories of bullying amongst adolescents seem to be making headlines daily, Propel NORTHSIDE, 1805 Buena Vista St, is one of the many schools making a stand to keep its students safe.

On January 31, the school held an assembly for students from third through sixth grade to give them important information on bullies and how to stay out of harm’s way on the internet and social media.

The first speaker at the event was Michael Bookser who is an emergency planning and response management coordinator for the Center For Safe Schools. Bookser reminded students that once unkind words are said they cannot be taken back, especially on the internet. He also expressed how dangerous it can be to share personal information online.

Bookser told students that when bullying occurs online, every post can be traced via an IP address or cellphone number. Bookset sent a clear message that cyber bullying can lead to consequences at school and at home if one is caught harassing another online.

After Bookser, a sixth grade Propel NORTHSIDE student talked to fellow pupils about a class project that turned into a school-wide program, called T.H.I.N.K. The student asked fellow classmates to think before speaking or posting hurtful words online.

T.H.I.N.K. is an acronym for: Is it True? Is it Hurtful? Is it Illegal? Is it Necessary? Is it Kind?

The student’s family provided everyone at the assembly with rubber bracelets that have T.H.I.N.K. printed on them.

Part of the project also included a brightly decorated “Bully Box” that is located in the main office. It was created as another way to allow students to anonymously report bullying that is happening at the school. Vice Principal Sarah Mahon said she promised to investigate all reports placed in the box to determine its validity and potential further action.

Maura A. DeRiggi, marketing coordinator for Propel Schools, said the students at Propel NORTHSIDE appreciated the program.

“They learned some surprising facts about social media and protecting their online reputations,” DeRiggi said. “More importantly, they revisited the concepts and practices of respecting themselves and their classmates.”

 

Photo courtesy of Maura A. DeRiggi

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