If you think you are too small to make a difference, think again.
That was the message for Pakanasink fourth and fifth graders in “Becoming an Ally.” Guest speakers Billie Grant and Alicia Ortiz from the Anti-Defamation League walked them through various scenarios showing how people can be bystanders, targets or allies in a situation where bullying is happening.
Students shared their own personal experiences with bullying. One boy told the story of when he was in first grade and kids teased him because he didn’t have “cool” shoes. A girl talked of students being intimidated by other students.
“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a closed room with a mosquito,” said Grant, paraphrasing an African proverb and making the point that one person – like the mosquito – can change things.
They read a story about a young girl who was a bystander as someone was bullied and later a target of the bullying herself. That experience made her see that being a bystander is not acceptable and she became an ally instead.
The students agreed, understanding that standing up for someone is good for both themselves and the person being targeted.
The message was clear: Say something. Get involved. Become an ally.