Where your students’ writing gets rewarded
Congratulations to the winners of our You Write It Contest in the February 20, 2012, issue. We couldn’t have written these articles better ourselves!
(Click here to read the You Write It interview that inspired these articles.)
Check out the winning entries below.
“We Are the Solution”
The town of Wheatfield, New York, became the source of a popular viral antibullying video called “We Are the Solution.” Stephen Zambotti, a 13-year-old Wheatfield native, was part of the group that made it happen.
“Our school participated in ‘Stomp Out Bullying Day,’” Stephen says. “My teachers wanted us to do something special and different to bring attention to bullying.” Stephen’s video did just that—it brought positive attention to bullying at the school. The video’s main theme is that “if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” This means that anyone can take action and stop being a bystander. According to Stephen, “Everyone says, ‘It has to be stopped.’ But who’s going to stop it? We want people to know that anybody can.”
Stephen’s bullying-awareness video has become so popular that Stephen’s class has made a website called www.wearethesolution.net, where anyone can pledge to stop bullying in their own schools and communities. This pledge has been signed by hundreds of people across the globe. It has been signed in Italy, Brazil, Singapore, Australia, the United Kingdom, Israel, and all across the United States.
“What stops kids from taking action when they see someone being bullied?” asked Scope magazine. Stephen responded, “Fear. I think kids need to realize that it’s OK to find a faculty member and tell them what’s going on, even if you do it anonymously.”
Stephen’s video has caused students and staff in his school to pay more attention to bullying. This has made his school a safer, better, and more comfortable place to learn and have fun.
Every day, children all over the world are bullied. Stephen Zambotti, 13, decided to take action by making videos to promote bully prevention.
Stephen’s school participated in “Stomp Out Bullying Day,” which inspired Stephen’s class to create two antibullying videos. Stephen and 10 other students got together and pitched ideas. The teachers wanted them to put together a unique project to bring attention to bullying.
Many people see bullying going on around them. Most are too scared or worried to tell an adult, so they keep what they’ve seen to themselves. Stephen and his classmates wanted to show that you can stop the problem no matter who you are.
What is bullying? “To me, it’s abuse from your peers, whether it’s physical, verbal, cyber, or social. It can happen face-to-face, by texting, by e-mail, or on Facebook,” Stephen explains. Lots of kids are scared of what people may think of them if they report bullying. They need to learn that it’s OK to report the situation. They can even do it anonymously.
Since watching the video, many kids have been paying more attention to bullying. “We Are the Solution” is a theme everyone has been talking about. It encourages us to take action and stop bullies!
The videos are also affecting people outside of the school. On Stephen’s class’s website, there is a pledge that people from all over the world have signed.
Stephen and his classmates are shocked at how far their work has gone. “It feels like we’re making a difference,” says Stephen.
Sturgeon Bay, WI
Stephen Zambotti defines bullying as “. . . abuse from your peers, whether it’s physical, verbal, cyber, or social.” He believes that “if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”
When his school participated in “Stomp Out Bullying Day,” Zambotti and 10 other students brainstormed and decided to make two videos to bring attention to bullying. One of the videos shows students with tape over their mouths. A voice in the background says things along the lines of “I didn’t push him. I just saw it happen.” The idea behind the video was that most witnesses to bullying say that it has to be stopped, but they don’t do anything about it. Zambotti is trying to spread the message that anyone can stop and help.
Scope asked him why most kids don’t take action when they see bullying happening in front of them. “Fear,” he says. “I think kids need to realize that it’s OK to find a faculty member and tell them what’s going on, even if you do it anonymously.”
If you have witnessed bullying but don’t want to tell an adult, just tell one of your friends. Telling someone is better than just watching and doing nothing. Bullies, beware—those kids watching you in the corner might just be the ones who stand up to you.
You might be trying to fit in by picking on the new kid or someone who acts differently than you, just because it’s “cool.” But, in reality, it’s just plain old mean. Just remember: WE are the solution.