OHS celebrates Unity Day, students wear orange in support of anti-bullying

OHS celebrates Unity Day, students wear orange in support of anti-bullying

Molly Archer, Staff Writer

Oxford High School’s Project Hope club took the initiative to spread bullying awareness to students and teachers by urging everyone to wear orange in support of Unity Day on Oct. 19.

Many high schools around the country have problems with bullying, but Project Hope leader Edith Marie Green believes that getting the word out about bullying and bullying prevention can help. According to PACER, the National Bullying Prevention Center, school-based anti-bullying programs decrease bullying by up to 25%.

“I feel that students need to know more of the statistics,” Green said. “More people need to be aware of how much of a problem it is.”

Teachers were encouraged to wear orange as well. Science teacher Candice Knef was one of the teachers to participate in the spirit day.

“I think it’s always a good thing when we can show unity within our learning community, especially when that unity can help bring awareness to important issues,” Knef said.

Freshman Dalton Whitehead, a member of the Project Hope Club, participated in unity spirit day in honor of bullying prevention and those who have lost their lives to suicide.

“Even though it (wearing orange) might not make the biggest difference, I still will do whatever to help end bullying,” Whitehead said.

According to Knef, as students grow older, they begin to worry more about what others will think of them, which can restrain them from telling a teacher if they notice someone being picked on.

“I think it’s more difficult the older students become to encourage a ‘if you see something, say something’ mentality,” Knef said. “The older kids get, the more they begin to feel like they are ‘snitching.’ The natural consequence of those emerging feelings is that they are less likely to stand up to a bully, and less likely to report bullying if it’s witnessed.”

OHS principal Bradley Roberson has set up a slogan for students on campus called “love your people” (LYP) as an attempt to get students to respect one another.

“I feel like our school does a better job than most schools, because Mr. Roberson is really in-tune with the students and he has the whole LYP thing. So I fee like our school addresses bullying pretty well. Better than other schools, definitely,” Green said.

Events and programs like PACER’s Unity Day can be very beneficial to people that are facing bullies. Bullying affects one out of every four students in a school year according to the National Bullying Prevention Center.

“It is an issue that needs attention,” David Torrent, a participant in Unity Day, said.

The Project Hope Club suggested the school be a part of Unity Day as a way to better help those who are a victim to bullies. Getting students to wear orange is only one way that Project Hope and others are spreading the word about anti-bullying.

“I think that it will send a positive message that our school cares about bettering our citizens, being nicer, and just unifying makes our school district look better,” Green said.