Clark County student, schools push anti-bullying message

As Clark County students head back to school this week teachers and administrators want to preach tolerance and good behavior.

A Southeastern High School student has taken it upon herself to preach a similar message — to be kind.

“It all started when I walked into the girl’s locker room (last school year) and there was a chalkboard and there were negative, hurtful comments on it about other students and my friends,” Southeastern junior Mozie VanRaaij said. “I took a picture of it before so I could send it to the school authorities and then I erased it and wrote the words ‘be kind’ on it.”

MORE: Northwestern students win award for anti-bullying video

VanRaaij then took a picture of the new message and posted it on social media. The post picked up traction and was liked many times on Instagram. She then decided to make T-shirts encouraging others to be kind and handed them out on April 20, the anniversary of the Columbine shooting.

“It means to be nice to everybody, even if you don’t really like someone or you don’t really know somebody or if you have problems with someone,” she said. “Just be kind anyway because there is no reason to start anything over something small.”

VanRaaij has started selling the shirts for $12, and all of the money goes into a scholarship and community fund. It goes to projects like the Clark County Fair, charities and it’s taken off.

“Everyone knows me as the ‘Be Kind’ girl because of the shirts,” VanRaaij said.

Bullying is an issue in all schools, she said, and it needs to stop.

“It’s people not tolerating each other’s differences,” she said.

Ross Ellis is the founder and CEO of the national organization STOMP Out Bullying. She said VanRaaij’s actions are a great way to stand up to bullying.

EXTRA: Clark County teen fights back against bullying

“We did a survey two years ago about what kids think about kindness,” she said. “It’s a real issue because they feel like there is not enough kindness in the world. And they not seeing it from adults and they are not seeing it from their peers.”

Bullying cases have gone down in America recently, Ellis said, but it remains an issue in American schools.

“The bigger issue is cyber-bullying,” she said. “We empower students by giving them the tools to deal with the bully. You cannot ignore it. I can’t stand when people say ignore the bully. That will never work.”

Instead, Ellis says the best way to handle a bully is by telling them that you don’t care about their opinion and walking away.

“I’m addressing them and being empowered but I am walking away and not having a conversation,” she said. “That just kills them because you are taking away their power.”

Making sure your child isn’t a bully can be difficult, Ellis said.

“You can tell your kids and you can talk to them all you want but ultimately they are going to do what they want at school when you’re not around,” she said. “However, it’s not a bad thing for parents to have conversations constantly about being kind to people.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Community News

Brett Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford wants FBI investigation before testifying in Senate
Brett Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford wants FBI investigation before testifying in Senate

Attorneys for California college professor Christine Blasey Ford are asking the Senate Judiciary Committee for an FBI investigation before she testifies about an alleged sexual assault involving Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh 36 years ago when the pair was in high school, according to news reports.  >> Read more trending news ...
Ohio Governor’s Race: Who is Mike DeWine?
Ohio Governor’s Race: Who is Mike DeWine?

If you don’t know who Mike DeWine is, perhaps you’re new to Ohio. For more than four decades, the Republican has been a fixture of Ohio politics: local prosecutor, state lawmaker, lieutenant governor, member of Congress and state attorney general. Now the 71-year-old Cedarville resident wants to cap off his career with Ohio governor, which...
Ohio governor race: Who is Richard Cordray?
Ohio governor race: Who is Richard Cordray?

For all but four of the past 28 years, Republicans have held a firm grip on the Ohio governor’s office. Democrat Richard Cordray wants to break that streak. Less than a year ago, Cordray jumped into the race for Ohio governor, elbowed out other contenders and grabbed 62.2 percent of the vote in a six-way primary. He is running for governor against...
Hurricane safety: Here’s what to do if your car is swept away by water
Hurricane safety: Here’s what to do if your car is swept away by water

Keeping a cool head and remembering these tips may save your life if your vehicle is ever overcome by water.  According to a 2006 study, as many as 400 people drown in North America in cars that are submerged in water. Because seconds matter, especially after your car is submerged, it’s important that you stay calm and follow these...
Ohio governor candidates on the issues: Higher education
Ohio governor candidates on the issues: Higher education

On Sept. 19, governor candidates Republican Mike DeWine and Democrat Richard Cordray are taking part in their first debate at the University of Dayton. The Dayton Daily News, WHIO-TV and WHIO Radio are the media partners for the debate. The debate will be moderated by News Center 7 anchor James Brown. Questions will be asked by Dayton Daily News Columbus...
More Stories