Anti-bullying campaign's pants point out: We're all equal
By PAMELA WILLIS
Published: Tuesday, April 5, 2011 5:54 PM EDT
The answer to that question -- "One Leg at a Time" -- is the title of a new anti-bullying program at Worthington Kilbourne High School that has sparked school presentations, a YouTube video, a new website and a social networking opportunity for students.
Lori Povisil, Wellness 4 Life teacher at Worthington Kilbourne High School, said she began the school year in September thinking about the 10 students across the nation who had committed suicide in 2010 because of bullying issues.
"One night, I woke up thinking of those students and remembered my mom telling me that no one could be better than me or me better than them, because every morning we all have one common denominator: We all put our pants on one leg at a time."
Povisil said she brought the idea of beginning an anti-bullying program based on that concept to her students.
"We had a meeting after school and the students designed T-shirts and liked the idea of making a video to spread the message," she said.
She secured a website by the end of October and students began to discuss selling T-shirts, bracelets and lanyards to raise funds to begin a nonprofit organization, eventually funding scholarships and anti-bullying events.
Povisil's students interviewed their classmates, along with middle schoolers, elementary schoolers and even a few Ohio State football players. The interviews all began with the same question: "How do you put your pants on?"
"People look at you like you're crazy when you first ask them that question, but after a second, they think about it and answer, 'One leg at a time,' " she said.
The website, onelegatatime.org, is for all ages of students and includes a social networking forum, although it is still under construction as far as content, Povisil said.
The section for young students in grades K-5 explains what bullying is, describing it as "when a person hits, shoves, slaps ... when a person calls someone names, teases them or threatens them ... excludes someone from their group ... makes fun of someone because of their skin, their culture or their ethnic background."
It goes on to explain why some people become bullies, perhaps because they have been bullied themselves or "because they are acting out anger or frustration that they may be suffering from at home."
Young students are advised to "remember the bee's advice: be nice" and "use your words to ask the bully to stop ... if the bully continues, walk away and tell an adult what happened."
The overall message of the website and the campaign is "Bullying hurts, but working together we can overcome the hurt ... one leg at time!"
Povisil said the video was presented to the community March 13 at the McConnell Arts Center and will be available to view on the website.
Students are continuing to work on the website, and T-shirts are selling at the high school, she said.
"We'd like to make another video that will concentrate on cyber-bullying," she said.
Povisil said the anti-bullying campaign is spreading to other schools.
"I teach at Thomas Worthington in the morning and we have students at Thomas interested in the program, as well as kids from Linworth," she said. "Once we finish the website, we may have a launch of the program on Facebook.
"I see more and more kids identifying with the program," she said. "Kids in the middle schools are wearing their T-shirts and we're getting positive feedback."
Povisil said the students involved in the program have been asked to present at other schools in the district.
"The students are committed to spreading the anti-bullying message," Povisil said. "Their attitude with building this program is 'go big or go home.'
"It's a lengthy process when you first start something, but we are all learning and I'm working with a fantastic group of kids," she said.
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