Displaying Insecurities

Posted on February 7, 2012


Seniors display their insecurities in support of White T-Shirt Day. Pictured: Sitting, left to right: Samantha Juliano, Jessica Adams, Adam LaSalle; Standing, left to right: Kelsie Righter, Carrie Quaco, Ellie Field, Jessica Bellis, Kristin Shapiro, Hannah Caplan, and Kelly Rodgers. Photo | Frank Vitale

News | Christina Manero

Gone are the days of pushing smaller children off swings, stealing the kickball, and playing keep-away. Many of us, as high school students, would like to believe that we have moved past those childish schoolyard antics. Yet bullying still exists on the high school level. As a matter of fact, bullying scenes in high school are much more sinister than most of the stereotypical scenes mentioned above. However, one of the reasons bullying persists in high school is the same as it was in grade school—bystanders do not stand up for their peers.

Ellie Field, Isabel Bump, Becca Olson, and Catherine Wetmore, the brains behind the recent Be an Ally Week, realized this as they began to develop a program that would raise bullying awareness. Ellie explained that once the team had this realization their project was “transformed…to specifically highlight the need for bystanders to step in when they see bullying.” With that in mind, the group planned five days that would educate students about Springfield’s bullying program and encourage them to stand up for victims.

Monday saw the team placing various colored post-it notes on lockers around the school. The red post-its represented the percentage of people who bully, while the green represented the victims and the yellow the bystanders. Near the end of the day, the colored notes were replaced by “Be an Ally” notes. Ellie felt that this day was successful, because “it achieved our main goal—to get kids talking.”

The next day’s activity consisted of a video shown in homeroom. This video’s purpose was to draw attention to the prevalence of bullying and provide a framework for the rest of the week. According to Ellie, the point was also to demonstrate that “if or when they bully, they are hurting real people with real feelings.” Tuesday’s activities led right into Wednesday’s. On this day, the team arranged recordings of famous people explaining their feelings on bullying. These messages were played over the intercom system. By providing these recordings, the team helped students to recognize that bullying is a problem that spans and is understood by individuals around the globe.

On Thursday, red and white signs appeared around the school. Most of the posters displayed statistics regarding those who step in to stop bullying, tell adults they are being bullied, or bully others. The posters were meant to remind students that bullying is a real problem, and that they can help or seek help.

Seniors Doug Bauer, Hannah Salzer, and Christine Jin joined a quarter of the student body by opening up about their insecurities during Be An Ally Week. Photo | Christina Manero

The last day of Be an Ally Week was White T-Shirt day. Students were encouraged to write their insecurities across the chests of white Spartan t-shirts. The day was part of Kristin Shapiro’s Senior Seminar project. Kristin got the idea from a project she had seen where people had written their insecurities on their bodies, taken a picture and captioned it with “I am not.”

Kristin explained that this really “hit me..I mentioned it to Mrs. Ward…and she asked me if I had seen the [similar] Glee episode.” Kristin does not watch Glee, but she looked up the episode, in which the cast writes their insecurities on their shirts as a way of embracing them. From there, Mrs. Ward and Kristin decided it would be cool if Springfield students engaged in the same sort of activity.

Students throughout the school were seen wearing white shirts, with everything from “over-ambitious” to “not good enough” to “short” written on them. According to Kristin, “over one quarter of the school” participated, and the day was full of respect.

Kristin explained that the day was actually meant for those not “wearing the t-shirts to [help them] feel…they weren’t alone.” The intention of the day, as Ellie explained, was to let others know “you are just as imperfect as they are,” and by doing so, show them they are not alone.

White T-Shirt day may have been the end of Be an Ally Week, but hopefully the effects of both will be remembered for months to come.

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