WLCSD students not afraid to stand against bullying

By: Sherri Kolade | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published May 15, 2013

 Geisler Middle School students are all smiles after reading their Stand4Change anti-bully statements May 3 at the school.

Geisler Middle School students are all smiles after reading their Stand4Change anti-bully statements May 3 at the school.

Photo by Sherri Kolade


WALLED LAKE — In a small media room, a crowd of Geisler Middle School students one by one read anti-bullying statements like mantras into a microphone connected to a computer and video camera May 3.

“We don’t all have to be the same,” one student read.

“We don’t all have to dress the same,” another read.

“We know that our differences make us interesting and unique,” another student said into the camera.

Nearly 20 students, including many from Geisler’s Take A Stand afterschool anti-bullying group, were among countless others around the world who declared similar anti-bullying statements during the Stand4Change Day.

The day featured students worldwide who stopped their activities for a few minutes and stood up at different times and performed symbolic protests against bullying.

Schools district-wide also participated in the anti-bullying campaign with different activities and events that day.

Troy sixth-grader Navya Kalia had a message for bullies she read that day:

“We don’t all have to talk the same.”

She said the message is close to her heart because diversity makes the world more interesting.

“We all, like, talk different and some people have accents,” she told the Beacon. “If everything was the same, it would be a boring world.

“I think bullying is bad and people shouldn’t do that because it is hard for the people who are being bullied. We are all different.”

Defeat the Label, which promotes the annual Stand4Change Day, wants a “bully-free society.”

Gudrun Doan, sixth-grade counselor and Take A Stand facilitator, said the anti-bullying campaign was the second one the district has participated in.

Doan said the Take A Stand group’s core values of positive behavior and an anti-bullying message are similar to Stand4Change.

“We got started just from the need and passion with the students,” she said of the group formed last year. “It just so happened that Stand4Change came around and it was such a connection. … It really related well.”

Some of the messages the students read were ones they created, while others were from literature read during the group’s afterschool meetings.

The messages will be read over weekly announcements throughout the school year.

“We hope for it to grow next year,” Doan told the Beacon. “We hope to get more students involved in our group and participating in the day.”

Walled Lake sixth-grader Holly Cimpa said her message, “We like it that people are different,” touched her, personally.

“I have been bullied a lot before,” she told the Beacon. “That is why I chose to join this group. What that means to me is if everybody were the same, there would be no being ourselves; we wouldn’t have the freedom to be who we want to be.”

For more information, go to www.defeatthelabel.com/stand.html.