Photo by Jeylin White
Pointe South Middle teacher, Thaddeus Henderson (from left) Pointe South Students: Ary Thomas, DeKota Hobby, Ruqayyah Sahin, and Germaine Thompson; and Point South Middle teacher, Patrick Phillips (far right). These students recently posted a music video on YouTube, bringing awareness to bullying.
Boys and girls encompassing all grade-levels and ethnicities at Pointe South Middle recently posted a music video on YouTube, taking a stand against bullying.
“We want to make this a national initiative,” said Thaddeus Henderson, teacher at Point South Middle.
They seem to be off to a good start. The video has gotten more than 4,000 views since it was posted three months ago. The song was also featured on V-103, a Rhythm and Blues radio station in Atlanta, and the school hosted an anti-bullying rally, which attracted scores of local dignitaries and Hosea Chanchez, who plays Malik Wright, on the BET television show, “The Game.”
Anti-bullying video, produced by students at Pointe South Middle School.
The original rap song was written by Pointe South Middle School teachers Henderson and Patrick Phillips, the co-founders of Young Men and Women of Promise, a youth mentoring group. Phillips said the video features a diverse group of students who are in the mentoring group, including Muslim, Caucasian, African-American, and Latino.
“The purpose of the video is to show solidarity that, no matter who you are, what your ethnicity or where you come from, we are all united against bullying behavior,” said Phillips.
The production was a long process, added Phillips, and it took some time to complete, as well as finding the right students who represented a diverse group and could rap. The video, he said, was shot by Marc Nors, a videographer based in Atlanta.
“We wanted to have something that was a lot more aggressive and show that we are tired and fed up with bullying,” said Phillips.
“We wanted to express what the students were feeling and what the adults were feeling,” added Henderson.
The video was shot at the school, and in the video students are wearing different colored T-shirts, with a hand depicted on the front of the shirt. It represents a stop sign, and each finger represents the various forms of bullying: cyber, verbal, physical, social, and bystanding. You can see the students bobbing their heads and stomping their feet to the music, dancing on top of lunch-room tables, and walking shoulder-to- shoulder in the school’s hallways, singing the hook line, “Stop bullying, stop bullying, stop bullying!”
Pointe South Middle students Ary Thomas, Ruquyyah Sahin, DeKota Hobby, Germaine Thompson, Shaun Holmes, Aracelis Villaronga, Jermaine Reynolds, and Deontrenise Thomas can be seen rapping in the video.
“It’s just a positive song and we wanted to all come together and put a stop to bullying,” said Thomas.
“It’s hard dealing with people other than my religion,” said Sahin, a Muslim. “Students will tell other students don’t bother me because I’m a terrorist.” She said the video was a good outlet to show that bullying is based out of ignorance.
These students all agreed that, though have not had to many encounters with bullying themselves, that it is a problem. Among the most common forms of bullying in their opinion is cyber bullying. These students, who all have Facebook and Twitter pages, said they have seen their Facebook friends post personal information about another student. One student recalled seeing a post on his page about a fight that was going to happen at a local park between two students.
“I don’t necessarily see the Cyber bullying but, I definitely hear about it, and see the consequences of it” said Phillips. “We try to intervene as much as we can but, sometimes you see the encounters in the hallways [of the school.]”
Henderson said during his grade-school years he was bullied, but not to the extent that students are facing nowadays.
“I mean you have students who are committing suicide because of being bullied,” said Henderson. “This is a problem and something we’re trying to stop.”
The students told a reporter they are aware of the media reports of students committing suicide as a result of bullying. When asked what is the best way to handle a bully, they all agreed that one must have their own mind, and be strong enough to walk away.
“Overall, we see the song has brought some awareness and I really feel like it’s just the beginning,” said Phillips. Both Henderson and Phillips said they are already working with local organizations who are helping them take their anti-bullying campaign nationwide.