Forestville debuts anti-bullying video starring students

FORESTVILLE – Students, community members and faculty of Forestville Elementary School are gaining attention online for their stand against bullying. The school and community created a video for a song written by one of their own, which premiered for students, faculty, staff and family Thursday in the elementary school.

Forestville Board of Education President Sylvester Cleary wrote “Word to the Bully” following a conversation with his daughter, Sylvea Cleary about changing the world.

“It was over a year ago when Sylvea approached and said to me ‘I witnessed a student being bullied. I feel so bad.’ Then she asked the question, ‘Dad, what can one person do to make a difference?'” Cleary said. “She was so moved by what she had seen. I thought to myself I had to do something to help her and the rest of you to deal with a negative situation.”

From that conversation, Cleary came up with the song “Word to the Bully,” which has the message of “see something, say something,” which encourages students to say something if a bully is being mean to them or to a friend.

“Think about the time when somebody has said something to you or done something that you didn’t like. Maybe it was unkind words or someone was in your personal space. What you need to do in that situation … is when somebody is bothering you, you let an adult know,” Elementary Principal Daniel Grande said.

Cleary teaches a SPARKS or Singing Praise and Rejoicing Kids Society weekly. He originally worked on the song with those students and expanded it to include the Forestville school and community. Kathryn Kuczka did the choreography in the music video which was filmed and edited by Michael Murphy. The video took about 15 months to create.

“‘Word to the Bully’ is fun and engaging but it has a very strong message. I think it’s a message for all of us to hear and to act on,” Grande said.

During the assembly, three students who worked on the video shared their experiences with bullying and what the video has meant to them. Sylvea Cleary said laughter, awesome dance moves and fun was what she experienced during video shoot. She told students to stand up for anyone being bullied.

“If you see bullying, stand up straight and tall in front of the person being bullied, whether you know them or not,” she said. “It’s up to us to let our neighbors know, let our friends know, let the whole world know that bullying ends here.”

Student Jacob Harvey said he chose to participate in the making of the movie due to his own experiences with bullying in elementary school.

“I would walk through the halls and (bullies) would trip me. I would get back to class and they’d gang up on me and make me feel bad,” Harvey said.

Student Sarah Pleva said “bullying is a very serious matter.” Pleva said if she sees something in school, she will say something.

“If you’re getting bullied, tell someone you trust because you don’t have to deal with it,” Pleva said. “I believe ‘Word to the Bully’ has helped many kids see why speaking out can help the bullying cycle. We all have a voice and we need to use it.”

Cleary said the video will encourage students to stand up and take a stand against bullying and if they witness anyone being bullied to say something. The video, which has been recognized by the New York State School Boards Association, can be found on Youtube. The video will also be posted on www.forestville.com and a link to download the song will be available. The Youtube video can be found at www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDa6MA899GQ.

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