Combating Cyberbullying in Schools, One Compliment at a Time

Leadership, Mission-Driven Work / by

Combating Cyberbullying in Schools, One Compliment at a time was originally posted on Navigator.

A lot of people walk around high school feeling all by themselves. They think that no one cares about them or that they are not one of the “cool kids.” Other kids walk around self-conscious, and under-appreciated, which leads them to the terrible world of cyber bullying. Here at West High Bros, we are doing everything that we possibly can to change that. It is a daunting task, but not one that is impossible. In fact, in our school the guidance counselors have reported that, since our group started, reports on bullying have gone down drastically.

Here’s Our Story:
Jeremiah Anthony is an 11th grade, tech-savvy kid with a BIG goal: to make his high school a better place. So in October of 2011, he asked Iowa City West’s principal, Dr. Argenbright, if he would support the opening of a Twitter account, called West High Bros, which would be for complimenting people and spreading positivity. By himself, Jeremiah soon realized he couldn’t do it alone. He had to get help, so he went to two good friends of his, Jon Ealy and Zack Nullmeyer.

The rest, as they say, is history. We were featured in a three-minute special on the Today Show and, in a matter of three days, our followers almost tripled 1,600 followers to nearly 5,000.

We have gone from a small group of students trying to do our best to a nationally recognized symbol of spreading hope, destroying negativity, and promoting good decisions. The amount of bros grew as well. The founding group scoured West High for students who shared their vision, and currently have 12 bros of different ages, genders, races, and friend groups. For us, though, it’s not about the popularity or the thank you notes. It’s about a few teens standing up and showing that we can stop bullying and make a difference in the world.

Watch the West High Bros in Action in this Video

 

The results have been astounding. We have been contacted by people all over the world. To name just a few, people in India, Canada, Australia, and Japan, as well as a number of high schools around the United States, saw our story and responded by recreating the idea in their own schools. We are just a few normal kids; there is nothing special about us. The difference is that we saw the need and weren’t afraid to stand up and do our part.

So, as many have asked, what now? Many seem to expect us to make money off of this or use this to propel us into stardom. They don’t realize that we aren’t about that stuff. It doesn’t matter to us. So we decided to keep doing what we are doing, which is spreading hope around not only West High but around the nation. In the future, we plan to speak at high schools all around the nation and encourage them to do what we did, to stand up even when it isn’t popular or cool, and make a difference in their own high schools. Our story is not just another feel good article, but a proposition to take what we have done and apply it in your own life. When we saw how we could make a difference in our school, we did everything we could to solve it. Will you?

Educators: Would a social media plan to stop cyberbullying be effective in your school? Why or why not? Tell us your thoughts in the comment section.