At YISS, we strive to be proactive and intentional about establishing and maintaining a safe and caring school culture of acceptance, tolerance, and respect. Each year, we conduct a school-wide bullying awareness campaign, called Stand Up. The campaign is run in two parts, for two weeks in the fall and two weeks in the spring.
For the spring semester, middle school students were given tools to respond to someone who is being unkind. Using seven training videos from Brooks Gibbs (all posted on Schoology), the students were shown to react calmly and kindly “like water off a duck’s back.” Using events from his own life, Brooks showed how that response could derail the escalation that can come if we respond in anger. One 7th grader said, “I'll need to know how to handle these situations so that I can be more confident in myself, and bullies won't keep coming back.” An 8th grader said, “I am in control of my feelings, and I have the power to keep from being hurt by bullies.” The more tools we provide students, the more they will be able to create a positive school climate at YISS.
The high school decided to focus on standing up for their community and others with a friendly grade-level competition. Grade representatives were asked to choose a charity that their grade would be fighting for, as well as a contribution they would like to buy for the entire high school community, such as computer chargers or toiletries in the student locker rooms. Each day of the campaign, decorated jars were carted around the high school. The rules of the competition were as follows: each grade had a jar where they were to give their donations, with coins providing positive points and paper bills giving negative points. The strategy was for students to place their coins in their own grade’s jar and sabotage the other grades by contributing paper bills to their jars. In total, the high school was able to raise an amazing ₩261,633. The funds will be divided between a charity supporting AIDS research and a mini fridge for the Senior Lounge that will serve the current and future senior classes.