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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

UMN PRSSA Bateman team launches bullying prevention campaign with Maple Grove Junior High

Over the past few months, select members of the Willard Thompson PRSSA Chapter at the University of Minnesota have been working on a bullying prevention campaign for the 2013 Bateman Case Study Competition

For our campaign, Together, For Good, we partnered with Maple Grove Junior High to help expand their bullying prevention efforts. We chose to go with a positive approach and instead of telling students what not to do, we encourage students to build healthy relationships with their peers. To do so, we created the MGJH Nice Box where students can nominate peers who are seen demonstrating what it means to be 'Maple Grove Nice.' Four winners are drawn each week and a majority of the nomination comments are posted through @MGJH_NiceThings. @MGJH_NiceThings was created after we met with Osseo senior, Kevin Curwick, who received national attention and news coverage after he started the twitter account @OsseoNiceThings. Kevin will also be speaking at a couple of student assemblies at MGJH to talk about why he created @OsseoNiceThings, ways students can make an impact, and how the students can come together as a community. During the assemblies, Kevin will also be promoting our campaign. Below are a few nominations from students:
  • Alyssa S. has shown so many acts of kindness, it is hard to pick one! She is a really good friend and she instantly made my day just by talking to me! I think Alyssa demonstrates MGJH nice :)
  • Lauren T. is always nice to everyone and makes you feel good when you're sad. She never talks behind people's backs and has never said a mean thing.
We started a project with the students called "The Chain Project" where students, teachers, and faculty write a pledge, words of encouragement, or their signature on a paper link, and at the end of the month all of the links will be put together in a giant paper chain to signify the community uniting together against bullying. During the student assembly, every student will complete a link. The finished chain will be on display throughout MGJH. The Chain Project extends outside of MGJH with a station at the Maple Grove Community Center as well as a place on our website where anyone can submit their pledge and we create a link and add it to the chain.  We've received some great feedback about The Chain Project and were even contacted by the director of PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center. The director,  was very impressed with the project and the simple, yet powerful message it sends. We met with the her last week and she brainstormed with us potential opportunities to collaborate with PACER in the future. PACER will also be featuring us within the next week or so on its website under the Student Action section. Read below for examples of what some students have written on their chain links:
  • “Words, in my not so humble opinion are our most inexhaustible source of magic.” Use them for good!
  • It isn’t big to make others feel small!
  • I pledge to show respect to all genders, races, and ages.
For parents, we created an easy-to-use website with resources, definitions, and ways to get involved. We are also hosting a Parent Meeting on Tuesday, February 19th at MGJH where we will be discussing the definition of bullying, how to spread bullying awareness, and the available resources to parents if their child is being bullied, or is the bully. A panel of experts--including counselors and administrators from Maple Grove Jr. High, mental health experts, and specialists from PrairieCare's Maple Grove clinic-- will be present to answer questions and share their knowledge. The meeting is at 7 pm in Maple Grove Jr. High Auditorium.
We are looking forward to the remaining two weeks of the campaign and appreciate all of the support! If you haven’t already, please check out our website, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter!
Quick links: Website - Facebook - Twitter

Meet our team:
Brooke Dotson: @brookedotson
Taylor Kippels: @taylorkip 
Megan Mell: @megan_mell14
Ryan Roddy: @ryanmroddy
Allie Zeman: @alliezeman

If you have additional questions, please contact Taylor Kippels at