By Sean Neary
In high schools across the country, bullying is a major obstacle in students’ lives. That is why LHS Student Council (StuCo) lead a respect campaign in January to help bring awareness about how all kinds of respect are important. “LHS StuCo kind of saw need within Lincoln High to address and kind of educate the people at Lincoln High of the importance of respect,” senior Respect Campaign coordinator Kaylee Robinson said. “And how to show respect to different groups because we’re so diverse here at Lincoln High, and we thought that this would be the best way to do it.”
“The Respect Campaign is pretty much a month-long advocation for respect, for the diversity at Lincoln High and in the world,” StuCo president senior Cassidy Taladay said. “We focused on multiculturalism, gender and sexualorientation rights and respect, and in general, respect against bullying. Basically it’s just a month-long campaign to focus in on those specific groups and to advocate for respect throughout the student body and administration and everything”, Taladay added. According to StuCo members, Lincoln High doesn’t necessarily have more bullying than the other high schools, but there is always the need for more respect. “I think that at the high school level, respect is something that teenagers kind of have to work at,” Robinson said.
“We saw a lot of instances where people weren’t being as respectful as maybe they could’ve been, and we wanted to raise awareness and help end bullying,” StuCo member junior Lauren Lesiak said. However, Lesiak also said that she thinks that as a school we are actually more respectful than other high schools, because of all our diversity. “I don’t feel like there’s a lot of disrespect,” StuCo member sophomore Mia Sharpneck said. “But I know I’ve seen, especially like teachers or just people, don’t understand they’re being disrespectful, so it’s just kind of getting the knowledge out there of what it is being disrespectful.” “This is something that my students kind of identified as a need here at Lincoln High.
They created this campaign and ran with it,” Student Council Sponsor Niki Barnes said. “Every week there was a different theme. One week was about showing respect to adults and just everybody in the building. One week focused on our cultural clubs and students with different ethnicities, and we focused on LGBTQ community, and the last week focused on bullying,” Barnes added. The Respect Campaign kept StuCo members very busy for the whole month of January, both in getting the campaign started the first week and in carrying it out during the last three weeks.
Robinson added, they’ve been planning the Respect Campaign since November. “Basically, all our responsibilities have been on organizing the different weeks: what we’re going to focus on, what kinds of things are going to happen,” Taladay said, “We’ve done Wednesdays where we advertise and promote people to wear the specific color that represents the group that we’re focusing on.” The first week, people wore yellow to represent multiculturalism. The next week was purple for gender and sexualorientation respect. Feminists for change and MOGAI, which is the new name of the LGBTQSA club, led that one. The last week, they wore blue to support respect in general and anti-bullying awareness. Each week, they’ve had a different video being shown for PBiS during 5th period.
The third week, Feminists for Change made the video, so StuCo just made sure they had all the help they needed. They also made sure Mr. Penrod had the three videos they made with some curriculum. They did a lot of poster making and a lot of advertising within that. “Most of it’s just been communicating with different news stations for advertisement, etc. A lot of it’s been planning and communicating with different people involved,” Robinson said. “We’ve been making sure to model what it looks like to respect people,” Sharpneck said, “We’ve worn the colors on the Wednesdays and we gave out candy, different colors of starburst to people on the days if they were wearing that color and we saw them,” Sharpneck said. “The administration really appreciates what we’re doing and really respects what we’re doing to advocate this message, and a lot of the staff members are participating and are really excited about it,” Taladay said.
“I’ve heard from a lot of students that they think it’s such a cool idea and such a cool thing, and I think this year’s really kind of a base year, like a launch year, like ‘Oh let’s test this out’ or ‘We can see what goes well with this,’ and so I think the goal was just to make things run smoothly and they have been really well.” “It’s exciting! Sharpneck said. “Especially for this being the first year we’re doing the whole campaign.” The respect campaign team, as you may know, doesn’t only consist of StuCo members, it wouldn’t have been able to go down if it wasn’t for non-StuCo members who participated.
“The biggest thing that I think people could do would be to just be more respectful and recognize their respect in helping others make decisions to be respectful,” Robinson said. StuCo member junior Mackenzie Healey and Taladay added that people could go along with the theme days, use the hashtag with ways that they could be respectful, and simply respect themselves, along with their peers and teachers.