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University of Minnesota students launch
bullying prevention campaign with Maple Grove Junior High

The University of Minnesota Bateman Team, partnered up with Maple Grove Junior High this month to promote kindness in their school. The campaign began as a national public relations campaign competition through the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), but it quickly became much more than that.

Starting in November 2012, the team began working to create Together, For Good, a month-long campaign with the goal of spreading kindness as a way to end bullying. 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. One way the team has done this is by creating 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.

The main piece of their campaign is The Chain Project, a physical representation of the community joining together to make a change. The message of the chain is that while one person can speak out against bullying, we are much stronger when we come together to make a difference. This chain will include student responses to bullying, as well as those of community members.

They started creating this chain with the MGJH WEB (Where Everyone Belongs) Leaders, a group of 9th grade students who act as leaders in the school. Soon, the entire Maple Grove Junior High student body will create their own portions of the chain at a school-wide assembly.

While students participate in The Chain Project, they will also hear from Kevin Curwick, a student who created the viral @OsseoNiceThings twitter page that focused attention on the acts of kindness that people were doing to promote positivity rather than focus on the negatives that bullying encompasses.

The Together, For Good team also held a panel discussion for parents with professionals from a range of professions who deal with bullying on a daily basis, including school counselors and physicians. The panel was designed to give parents the resources to address bullying in their own home, as well as update them on all that bullying consists of in the 21st century.

To learn more about PRSSA and the Bateman Competition, you can visit http://www.prssa.org/scholarships_competitions/bateman/