Source: Sherman Publications

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Anti-bullying program at Oakview

January 30, 2013

By Olivia Shumaker

Review Staff Writer

The Lake Orion school district has made many strides in the past few years toward promoting anti-bullying programs.

On Thursday, Jan. 24, Oakview Middle School took another step forward. That evening, the school was host to singer Ryan Beatty, visiting with the organization Defeat the Label to talk with students about self-empowerment.

"I'm hoping that they can relate to Ryan and his message resonates with the kids," said Sarah Perry, assistant principal at Oakview and a key planner for the event.

Upon arrival, Beatty spoke with assorted students about his experiences with bullying in middle school and high school, encouraging students to pursue what they enjoy and not allow others to influence their lives by negativity. Beatty was accompanied by a representative from Defeat the Label, as well as deejays from local radio station 98.7 radio, who took pictures of the event for the station website and kept students entertained before Beatty's arrival. The station is an official partner of Defeat the Label.

"We believe in everything Defeat the Label stands for," said Leah McCarroll, from 98.7. "Instead of just advocating it we're actually taking action to help prevent bullying."

Defeat the Label is a non-profit group whose goal is to fight stereotyping and social labels among middle school and high school students. They work to spread their message through outreach events like the one at Oakview, and work with a number of celebrity ambassadors including Beatty. The group contacted the Lake Orion School District about having Beatty come in to speak with students about preventing bullying while he was in town.

"It was important to him to actually talk to students and share his thoughts on the bullying issues and why he is a part of Defeat the Label," said Jamie Green, a representative for Defeat the Label.

The effort behind the event was done in support of Lake Orion's anti-bullying programs, including Oakview's active uptake of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program.

Components of this effort include active discussion of bullying in STAR classes to encourage students to be open-minded and speak up about bullying, as well as larger scale events like Beatty's visit.

"I'm just glad to see such a large turnout, which tells me that Lake Orion as a district is doing a great job with this initiative," Perry said. "It's really great to see that the district is trying to do something to recognize this issue affects everybody."

At the end of the night, students gave positive feedback that will hopefully help instill the anti-bullying message.

"It doesn't matter who you are, you can do anything," said Charlotte Brinker, who is in sixth grade.