By Selwyn Harris
More than 900 Rosemary Clarke Middle School RCMS students were invited to make a pledge against bullying this week.
On Wednesday, the school held three separate assemblies for sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students.
The assembly featured a wide range of character building themes during a glossy on-screen theatrical program called the “Pledge” which featured the latest musical groups whose songs contained messages about the dangers and repercussions of bullying.
Emily Jones is a technician for Camfel Productions, the company that brought the show to RCMS.
She said the show is designed to motivate and encourage students to be the best they can by offering solutions in a way that they all can relate to.
“It’s talking about taking a pledge against bullying and also inspiring young people to be confident in themselves. We have been around for over 40 years and we’re based in Irwindale, California,” she said.
Camfel is a non-profit organization that uses three movie screens to display the message to students.
Jones said the company travels around the country and the production is seen by roughly two million students each year.
“There are teams that are dispersed in groups of two typically and we go to the schools that are requesting us. The students really respond to the video because it has great music and movie clips that they can relate to.
“While we have their attention, we are able to share a message that they can also relate to as we talk about cyber bullying, students using the internet to say hurtful things to each other. It is a way to address those issues with a captive audience. It’s elementary through high school,” she said.
Bullying was not the only topic explored during the assembly.
Jones noted that other areas related to becoming young adults was also talked about including substance abuse.
“It is also an opportunity to encourage students to make healthy choices. Things that are good for them not just during middle or high school but also later on in life in all areas,” she said.
RCMS student Reagan Adams was one of the many students who participated in the assembly.
She said she thought the production contained a very positive message that made her and other students stop and think about the act of bullying.
“It was awesome watching the episodes and it probably taught all of us a lot things about bullying,” she said.
Austen Ancell was equally impressed by what he saw during the assembly.
“It was pretty cool. I like how they presented it because it wasn’t just all information. They kind of threw some fun stuff in there. It was a fun presentation and I think you are going to get more information out of presentations that are fun and entertaining other than just all information,” he said.
RCMS Principal Tim Wombaker said he thinks the production is very important especially to middle school students who are on the verge of entering high school.
“We always try to have an assembly every year on this because bullying is just such a huge issue right now in schools. With Facebook and texting, cyber bullying is more prominent now and the kids need to have as many avenues to handling bullying as possible so we are trying to provide as many of those as possible,” he said.
Wombaker also noted that the style of the production was something that grabbed the attention of all of the students who were in the assembly.
“The kids did a great job and they were very well behaved today. When you have 950 kids throughout three assemblies, it relates to their life. It has the music and most popular songs of their generation. Even some of the movie clips are things that they find humorous. No matter what age you are, they are always great. We try to bring in something that relates to the kids to where it keeps their attention,” he said.
Another student who focused his attention on the humor and overall message of the program was Joey Sladek.
The eighth grader said parts of the show were funny, sad, and emotional.
“It teaches students not to be a bully and how to speak up for yourself and gain confidence in yourself. Overall it’s a great program and you can learn a whole lot from it. I’ve never really seen bullying here but I’ve heard of it and it should be stopped. I am making the pledge,” he said.
Wombaker, meanwhile, said he was pleased that anti-bullying was not the sole message from the program.
“It deals with a lot of different things from depression, bullying, harassment, alcohol and drug abuse. It contains information on how to make the right decisions and how to get help. We want to provide opportunities on what to do,” he said.
According to the website parentinstitute.com, there are various signs that parents can look for to access if their child is the victim of a bully.
Parents should observe the child’s behavior as victims at times tend to avoid school.
Parents may also see a drop in grades and kids tend to withdraw from normal activities.
A child’s health may also be an indicator of possible bullying.
Stress from the situation may cause panic attacks, stomach aches, headaches or difficulty sleeping.
Conflict resolution is taught on the elementary and middle school level through the Nye County Sheriff’s Office Gang Resistance Education and Training GREAT and Drug Abuse Resistance Education DARE programs.