#BeKind Ineffectively Hitting High School

Millard’s new campaign for anti-bullying being brushed off by students.


Michelle Zhang, Staff Writer

Almost 2,500 students shuffled into Wildcat 1 at Millard West High School, awaiting to hear speaker Kyler Erickson talk about his experiences dealing with PTSD and his younger years. During this assembly, Erickson was able to go in-depth with students about Millard’s new campaign, #BeKind. With intensity and emotion in his voice, Erickson passed along his message ending with “life can be done selfishly or unselfishly”.

As the assembly came to a close, some students walked away feeling inspired, while others brushed off the assembly and continued to their second block. Some even making jokes with their friends, mocking the campaign.

Growing up students are taught the Golden Rule: Treat people the way you want to be treated. As kids travel through life, that lesson soon starts be pushed away and forgotten because issues like peer pressure and online bullying appear.

Here in Millard, #BeKind is a campaign to spread kindness and bring a direct focus on what it means to be a kind human being in an increasingly digital world. With #BeKind, students are encouraged to do what they can do rather than what they can’t do. The campaign is publicized through banners, billboards, signs, T-shirts, selfies and original student artwork.

Although the campaign gets lots of publicity all around the district, that doesn’t mean all students are acknowledging the message. Because of this, I wondered how effective the campaign really was, especially since many schools in Nebraska using the same campaign.

While sitting in one of my classes, I heard multiple students making sarcastic remarks about the campaign itself, making fun of the message it was trying to spread. With that, I began to wonder how students really felt about #BeKind. With that being said, I decided to organize a Google Form, asking students at Millard West High School about their thoughts on the #BeKind campaign.

The survey took responses from students grades 9-12 at West. In the survey students were able to type in their responses. The question ‘How do you feel about the #BeKind campaign?’ was asked to students. Many students had similar responses saying it was good, but some other students felt the movement wasn’t effective. Another question asked was ‘What could make the campaign better?’. Students responded with the campaign needing to be pushed more. Some students said that they should be rewarded.

This is where the flaw in the campaign is. If students were to be rewarded for being nice to one another, then where is the sincerity?

Even though some students felt they should be rewarded, other students said that the campaign should be pushed more toward younger levels, such as students in elementary school. From this, the message of being kind will stick with kids as they travel through each grade. But because this campaign is relatively new, it is not very effective in middle schools and high schools. Mainly because students don’t care enough.

The campaign has a good message, but students don’t acknowledge it. This is stemmed from the campaign not being pushed enough because to me, it appears #BeKind mainly pushed at pep rallies, which is only on special occasions, like the first day of school, or Homecoming. If the campaign is put into everyday life, then students will begin to acknowledge message being spread.

Ways that #BeKind could be incorporated could be through interactive activities, except majority of students dislike doing those activities, some teachers included. A lot of the time, those activities are turned into jokes because students don’t care. I feel this is because having a quick change of mind is not realistic, especially since high schoolers joke about everything. But if the message is pushed more onto elementary school students, then it will stick better.

#BeKind has a good message, but getting students need to care in order for the campaign to be more effective.