Weekly Whims: Student responds to bullying with positive Post-its, school punishes her for littering
As someone who experienced bullying as a child I completely identify with this young girl. I had to take the opportunity to share her courageous story. Please read, share and let’s all do what we can to lower the tolerance of bullying. Teaching our kids to stand up for themselves as well as teaching them to not bully others is so important. In their iChildhood it can occur in more places than ever before.
Caitlin Prater-Haacke poses with a sticky note in her family’s home in the city’s southwest on Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014. The Grade 11 student at George McDougall High School was bullied last week and responded on Monday by posting upwards of 850 positive post-it notes on student and faculty lockers. BRITTON LEDINGHAM / AIRDRIE ECHO / QMI AGENCY
AIRDRIE, Alta. — This community north of Calgary is outraged after a Grade 11 student was reprimanded for responding to a cruel act of bullying by sticking Post-it notes with positive messages on all 850 of the school’s lockers.
On Sept. 25, somebody broke into Caitlin Prater-Haacke’s locker at George McDougall High School and used her iPad to post a Facebook status update that told her to die, she said.
Instead of letting it upset her, Prater-Haacke decided to respond with kindness and put up the Post-it notes before students arrived on Oct. 6
“Bullying is not necessarily addressed, and people get really down about it, I wanted to do something positive — it was about due time,” Prater-Haacke said.
Despite the positive nature of her messages — which included “You’re awesome” and “You’re beautiful” — the school reprimanded her for littering because some of the notes fell off the lockers.
Her mom, Nicole Haacke, said Caitlin was taken out of the classroom and told janitors weren’t there to clean up after her, as well as being yelled at by a teacher.
“I don’t understand that when my kid is bullied, nothing happens, but when she tries to do something positive, she is punished,” Haacke said.
She said she approached the school with her concerns about the locker break-in last week, but nothing was done.
Haacke wrote about the situation on the Airdrie Moms Facebook page and received more than 400 comments of support.
The larger community then banded together to launch a new anti-bullying campaign called Positive Post-it Day, which encourages people to leave anonymous notes of kindness for one another on Oct. 9.
The Staples store in Airdrie is giving away Post-it notes to support the campaign.
“We need people like Caitlin to stand up and take charge of bullying,” said Natalie Flaman, a mother of two George McDougall graduates.
A George McDougall student, who asked to remain anonymous, said many students kept Prater-Haacke’s positive messages because the notes made them feel special.
Police are investigating the locker break-in and Facebook post.
Rocky View Schools division released a statement saying they wouldn’t discuss an individual student, but “student-led events … are essential to building safe and caring learning environments where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.”
Article source: Toronto Sun