Students make anti-bullying social media page
BELLEVILLE, Wis. — High school is hard enough without having to worry about being bullied. That’s why when one classmate was teased, her classmates not only defended her but chose to respond with kindness.
Hannah Matteson and Cassidy Evans decided to make a page on Twitter in response to recent online bullying after they say a couple of students started a Twitter page titled “Belleville personalities.”
They claim the site targeted and bullied students at the high school.
“At first it was little snarky comments about people and then it started going downhill,” said high school junior Hannah Matteson.
That Twitter page was taken down. Instead of saying mean things back, Matteson and Evans decided to turn to social media too, with tweets of positivity.
“I want people to feel confident when they walk down the halls and know that if someone doesn’t know you they can have a positive outlook on you just by hearing the positive things on the page,” said Matteson.
Their page “Belleville’s (nice) personalities” highlights classmates spotlighting students describing them with words like “super smart,” “has a big heart” and “gets along with everyone.
Evans and Matteson said they stated the page to positively highlight students around school.
“Some of the comments that we are proud of you and what you’re doing is very good, and it’s helping people with confidence and stuff. I know that helps me to continue the page and make people feel good,” Evans said.
Matteson and Evans said another negative page was formed in response. The first post targeted a single student saying she “reeks of perfume,” “sings like a cow,” along with several inappropriate descriptions.
“Our page believes in spreading positive energy around BHS instead of tearing other students down,” they responded in a Twitter post.
The Belleville school district declined to respond to specific recent bullying incidents. District Superintendent Pam Yoder said the district takes proactive approaches to try to prevent bullying.
“The school district of Belleville administration and staff are very proactive in the prevention of bullying. We provide students annual education in digital citizenship, have sponsored multiple ethics symposiums and guest speakers for students, staff and parents, and host an online anonymous reporting system called Sprigeo,” Yoder said in a statement.
Matteson and Evans hope their positive words will turn into change their classmates know they are not alone.
“I feel like it’s just really important for students to realize that their words have impact on how other people feel,” Matteson said.
“If this page can help someone from causing self-harm then that makes us feel really good,” Evans said.
Right now, they are trying to highlight students from every grade. Both students said they hope to highlight all the students in the school and don’t plan on leaving anyone out. When they graduate, they plan to pass the page down to other students to continue.
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