ASB’s Annual Anti-Bullying Week aims for positivity but lacks reach
ASB’s annual Anti-Bullying Week spanned from October 5th through 9th, consisting primarily of lunchtime activities in the rotunda to raise awareness of bullying.
“Anti-Bullying Week is about spreading awareness that [bullying] is an actual problem, not just something teachers talk to us about and doesn’t really happen,” ASB member Zoe Hsiao (11) explained. “Our goal was to have lunchtime activities to attract people’s attention so they’d be more interested in how this is a problem at school or making it less of a problem.”
While ASB’s perception of the event shaped the course of the week, variations in views of Anti-Bullying Week’s purpose added to its significance on personal levels.
“It’s to make a safe environment for people who are being hurt, and to make people think it’s ok to reach out when they are being bullied,” sophomore Emily House said.
One event involved writing compliments on pieces of paper and posting them on the wall of SAC. Another was the creation of a paper “Chain of Change,” composed of the insults students have been called. Of the five days, three promoted acts of kindness and making the school a safer place, while two focused on the significance and effects of bullying.
“We wanted to focus more on how we can overcome bullying, look towards the positive, and help people feel better about themselves,” Hsiao reasoned. “We focused on positives like making friends, getting involved, making the school less of a scary place, more familiar.”
A relative lack of promotions for Anti-Bullying Week stood as an obstacle to this end. According to Hsiao, preparations for Spirit Week and Homecoming divided the ASB council’s attention between events, decreasing the focus on Anti-Bullying Week.
“I didn’t even know it was Anti-Bullying week,” House admitted. “More announcements, posters, bulletins would have made it better.”
As a result of low advertising, the overall effect on the American High student body decreased. Many who spent lunch in the rotunda ignored the lunchtime events, except when a participant pulled them in for Thursday’s game (finding people wearing certain items). Those who spent lunch outside the rotunda were largely unaware of the events.
“It just felt like a normal lunchtime activity rather than one promoting friendship or kindness,” senior Patrick Rivera commented. “It was just kind of a background thing that very few people paid attention to.”
Despite the lack of promotion and participation, some did feel a change as a result of Anti-Bullying Week – if not from the activities, then from the week itself.
“It makes me feel safer, to know that there’s a week to talk about what happens, and that the school is acknowledging that bullying is a thing, and the school is there to help stop it,” House said. “It’s a great idea, but it could be executed better.”