Film­ing a mes­sage

Har­bour Grace stu­dents make anti-bul­ly­ing movie

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER

Stu­dents at Har­bour Grace Pri­mary raise their right hands as they re­cite the anti-bul­ly­ing pledge on Feb. 27. The movie starts with a stu­dent in a hall­way. Hold­ing her books, she turns away from her locker with the in­ten­tion of go­ing to class. At the same moment, a young boy crosses in front of her. The boy shoots his arm out in a down­ward arc, knock­ing the books to the floor in front of her.

Fast for­ward a scene and some­thing else is play­ing out.

A Grade 4 stu­dent walks into the lunch room at Har­bour Grace Pri­mary.

As she en­ters, a group of stu­dents at an­other ta­ble start to snicker. Shunned and de­jected, the girl takes her seat at an­other ta­ble, alone.

What do both of th­ese sce­nar­ios have in com­mon?

They are both ex­am­ples of bul­ly­ing and some­thing “Stand Up” to Bul­ly­ing Day is aim­ing to bring to a screech­ing halt.

The movie is a re­sult of an ef­fort by the Grade 4 stu­dents at Har­bour Grace Pri­mary. In a school-wide as­sem­bly, the classes led by Heather Ivey and Wanda Lee Roach pre­miered it for their peers and a small group of par­ents.

Half­way through the movie, stu­dent Den­ver Neil walked around hand­ing out tis­sue. It was a good thing. At the end, there were not many dry eyes left in the gym­na­sium.

“They’re like happy tears,” he would say later.

The movie took about two days to shoot from be­gin­ning to end. Nine-year-old Sa­van­nah Shep­pard found her time on the movie en­joy­able. “It was really cool,” she said. “It was fun,” added Den­ver. Get­ting the mes­sage about bul­ly­ing was the goal, but the stu­dents found it chal­leng­ing act­ing out the bul­ly­ing parts.

“I was kind of sad be­cause I just looked at Jas­mine and I didn’t do any­thing,” said Sa­van­nah

Proud to do it

One thing that does stand out with stu­dents, teach­ers and par­ents is the sense of pride that comes with see­ing such a worth­while ven­ture be­ing un­der­taken by those so young.

School prin­ci­pal Chris­tine Kennedy had no idea what the stu­dents had planned for an­tibul­ly­ing day.

“The first time I saw it … I was amazed by what the stu­dents had done,” she said.

What im­pressed the prin­ci­pal the most was the ef­fec­tive­ness the stu­dents showed at un­der­stand­ing the mes­sage be­hind Anti-Bul­ly­ing Day.

“How they got their head around the mes­sage of bul­ly­ing and what it looks like,” said

Photo by Ni­cholas Mercer/The Com­pass Kennedy. “A lot of them will tell tell a friend or a par­ent, but what can you do? And they really showed that they knew dif­fer­ent ways of bul­ly­ing and how it af­fects peo­ple and they showed how to make it right.”

Den­ver said he was “proud” to be in­volved in the movie and to get the mes­sage out about bul­ly­ing and the ef­fects it can have on peo­ple.

How it ends

Mean­while, as the girl kneels down to pick up her books, two stu­dents stand­ing next her show some kind­ness by help­ing col­lect the books.

And just be­fore the girl in the lunch­room fin­ishes her lunch, three friends make their way to her ta­ble. Smil­ing, the now group of four, eat to­gether.

“I’m so proud of them,” said Kennedy.

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