Local Girl Scouts create anti-bullying campaign
Three Girl Scouts have a message for Mukilteo fifth graders: Bullying is not OK.
Kaelyn Drummond, 14, Annemarie “Anne” Murphy, 13, and Milly Marriott-Green, 14, have created an anti-bullying campaign with the goal of turning Olympic View Middle School into a bully-free school.
With their campaign, the three have completed all the requirements to earn a Silver Award, scouting’s highest award for Cadettes. They are on track to receive their award on Aug. 2.
“I am very proud of the girls,” said Troop Leader Frances Murphy. “They worked tremendously hard for close to three years. I think that it will be valuable as a sustainable project for years to come.
“These are remarkable girls.”
The scouts are from Mukilteo Troop 40952 and recently finished eighth grade at OV.
There are seven requirements – which include completing a service project, earning three badges and finishing a Cadette workbook – before scouts may earn a Silver Award, in a team or on their own.
In search of a project, the scouts looked through their Cadette workbooks. They were inspired by discussions on the issue of bullying to create an anti-bullying campaign.
“Bullying is a big problem in schools, so we wanted to make sure that it would stop or at least slow down, if not stop completely,” Kaelyn said.
“We feel like it’s a big issue and that fifth graders should know what bullying is,” Anne said.
The three said they’ve all been victims of bullying because they are “different” than their peers. Kaelyn has moderate cerebral palsy and Anne and Milly both have Turner Syndrome.
“It seems like if people have a challenge, they’re easier targets, so I wanted to show kids that you can do whatever you want, no matter the challenge,” Kaelyn said.
“Because there is no ‘normal.’ We’re all different.”
The scouts presented their campaign to about 80 fifth graders at Serene Lake Elementary on May 30. They also posted anti-bullying posters around OV.
In their presentation, the scouts explained what bullying is, the many forms of bullying, and what to do if students find themselves in a situation where they are a target or a bystander.
They also shared their personal experiences as targets of bullies and how they handled it.
“Kids can feel so scared that they can’t concentrate, or they don’t want to go to school because they’re scared,” Kaelyn said.
“They’re petrified to go to school because the bullying situation is so bad,” Anne said.
These days, they said bullying is more than just pushing and making threats – it can be spreading rumors, teasing, gossiping, name calling and the exclusion of others.
They said more and more bullying is done not at school but on the Internet, which is called “cyberbullying.”
“The big problem with cyberbullying is it’s constant,” Kaelyn said. “The [bully] has access to you all the time, and they can hide behind anonymous usernames.
“You would know who Allison was, but you wouldn’t know who PumpkinPie12 was.”
They had the students recite a pledge to not bully others, to help other students who are bullied, to include others who are left out and to report any bullying to an adult.
They said the fifth graders asked lots of questions during the Q&A that followed.
“The kids seemed to listen very well,” Kaelyn said.
“I was awestruck by the number of hands that went up when we asked, ‘Have you guys learned anything?’” Milly said. “They were like, ‘Oh my gosh, yes!’”
The trio is passing their presentation – in PowerPoint form – on to other Cadettes in their troop and to the student leadership at OV so that their campaign against bullying can continue.
The scouts hope their successors will help spread their message to all fifth graders set to attend OV the following year that bullying is not OK.
“We don’t want it to go on in middle schools [anymore],” Kaelyn said. “I think, it’s going to take more than one time for kids to really realize you [shouldn’t] bully.”