Rawlins High School, WYOMING - BEST BUDDIES "Spread the Word to END the Word" Campaign

Good Afternoon Staff of Carbon County School District #1,

First off, thank you for allowing the students in Best Buddies to have “Spread the Word to End the Word” campaign yesterday. We greatly appreciate you all for allowing students to miss class, give up part of your class, or come to your school to present this anti-bullying campaign. Students worked really hard on preparing this campaign, coming in early before school, staying after school, or working with their buddies at their house. The students in Best Buddies wanted this to be simple. “Let’s send a message to all the students and staff that we want to create a positive environment of inclusion for everyone, where everyone can feel respected.” That is why we started with “Spread the Word to End the Word.” The basic goal was for students to talk to other students and staff about not using the R-Word any longer in their everyday speech. The results from yesterday were phenomenal and the amount of emails I received from staff was very encouraging.

Results

- Students at Rawlins High School campaigned by presenting to their peers in classrooms, during passing periods and lunch. The students ended up having over 350 students and staff pledged to make the change in their lives. This is approximately 81% of the student body that participated in this campaign. Statistically, schools across the nation that participate in this yearly campaign have about 35% of their student body involved with this campaign.

- Students that went to the Elementary Schools K-1 and 2-5 buildings had positive results. The students presented more of a positive “anti-bully” approach with the students. Over 250 students and staff at the K-1 and 2-5 buildings pledged to make the change in their lives.

- The day before the campaign, students went down to the Middle School to make an announcement about the campaign on their daily news video. The next day, students went to the Middle School and campaigned by presenting to the students at their grade level lunch. The students had over 250 students and staff pledged to make the change in their lives.

- Students finished off the campaign by going to Central Office and getting over 40 staff members making the pledge to make the change in their lives.

- Overall, we had nearly 900 students and staff made the pledge to end of the use of the R-Word in the everyday speech. I am just humbled by the amount of support we received from students, staff, and parents.

 

I wanted to share some success emails I received:

1)      I received numerous emails from teachers telling me that they heard their students talking about this campaign and how they did not even know it was a bad word. This is great because the awareness is now out there on each school campus.

2)      I also heard a report from a teacher saying they heard a student use the word in class and a student who took the pledge told the student not to use the word. That student apologized and said they use that word all the time, but really wants to stop using the word.

3)      Another teacher reported they have only seen a campaign like this at the university level, but not elementary or secondary. They thought it was awesome.

Lastly, I want to share this email I received from a staff member at the elementary school:

- Here at the 2nd-5th grade building, I am always teaching about being respectful, how to get along, etc. Today I noticed one 2nd grader with his head on the lunch table. I walked over towards that table and another girl pipes up to me, “If you sign that poster, which means you have to stop being a bully, right?" I told her that's the idea of it, yes. Then she and two other students at that table told me that they were trying to tell their classmate that since he signed the poster then he needed to stop being mean to other kids. He obviously didn't like that they were trying to tell him to be nicer. But I talked to him and told him that his classmates were just trying to help him make better choices and they really want to help him be nicer to others. I told the group Best Buddies students that were on our side what was going on, and one of the young men in Best Buddies at the HS went over to talk to this kiddo. It was so sweet to see him work with our kiddo. A bunch of them also talked to a 3rd grader for quite a while. So kuddos to the kids that came today! What a great experience for them and our students. It makes me think of the starfish story about you can't save them all, but you can help them one by one.

We understand that this campaign will not fix all issues, but if we can spark changes in a few students, one by one, we can truly make an impact when it comes to making our schools a more positive environment. I want to say thank you all for your support for helping our students make positive changes in their lives.

If you would like to become involved with Best Buddies, please let me know.We are the Outlaw Buddies!

David Holland
Rawlins High School
Special Education Teacher
Best Buddies Advisor