Bridger students pinky promise to stop bullying

Photo by Lizzie Blumenthal

Students get their pinky nails painted

for Mean Stinks, anti-bullying pledge.

One way students at Bridger stand up to bullying is by painting their pinky nails and hair blue for the Mean Stinks, Gang up for Good campaign. With help from a DSVS (Domestic and Sexual Violence Services) grant to supply nail polish and painting supplies, Bridger Middle School students of FCCLA (Family, Career, Community Leaders of America) spent their lunch hour painting girls’ pinky nails b l u e a n d s p r a y i n g mohawks for boys, Dec., 17 and 19. With painted nails and hair, the students signed a pledge, joining many other schools across the nation to pinky promise to stand up and stop girl to girl bullying. “There’s a lot of bullying that I’ve seen and heard of so we decided to do the blue pinky promise for our project,” said 7th grader, Riley Kilfoy. In a letter to parents explaining the project, Kilfoy, Katy Parker and Grady Althoff state, “We are doing this to stand up against girl to girl bullying. The whole point of this project is to show girls that bullying anyone is not okay, period.” According to a 2011 Center for Disease Control and Prevention survey of high school youth risk behavior, 26 percent of students reported being bullied on school property. Additionally, with school violence frequently making headlines, the need for bullying awareness becomes eve r mo r e c ruc ial i n schools. Helping to advocate for the campaign, Travi s Burdick and Baleigh Harper of DSVS explained that the education grant promotes student-led projects, such as this. “The kids applied for a violence prevention grant and came up with their own plan about anti-bullying and building healthy relationships. We try to encourage the creative approach. Not just lecturing, but really suppo r t ing the i r ideas , ” Burdick said. Although there are different sorts of anti-bullying programs and c las ses available for students, Harper believes that student organized projects are also beneficial because, “kids have more authority and they are las t ing ambassadors for thei r peers.” For their final project for the FCCLA state conference, Kilfoy, Parker and Althoff will either make a display or scrapbook documenting their anti-bullying efforts throughout the year.