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Battling Bullying: Trio of girls spreading positive thoughts – one sticky note at a time


Chelsi Fraley, left, Katherine Colt and Gabrielle Griffith, all 13, launched an anti-bullying campaign at Russell Middle School by posting positive messages on the lockers of every student in the school. (Photo by Tammie Hetzer-Woman)


By Tammie Hetzer-Womack
Special to KyForward

Gabrielle Griffith, Katherine Colt and Chelsi Fraley are three musketeers, a trio of selfless preteens, vigilantly battling mean girls of the world.

The dauntless 13-year-olds are fortified with pastel Post-It Notes – a lovable line of defense against bullying. The students from Russell Middle School in Greenup County prefer the “kill them with kindness” as their guiding principle.

Today’s endeavor is promoted by 3M – mercy, magnanimity and mind.

The lobby group of smart students took an afternoon walk down the quiet corridor, on a calling, a sneak attack of sorts.

After the sixth-period class bell sounded, comrades arm-in-arm divided up a hefty stack of handwritten sticky-sweet notes and plastered them all over first-floor lockers. “You’re awesome!” and “You’re the prettiest person I know,” among the positive thoughts shared. Katherine stood on tippy-toes, aiming high on her directive.

The commission was her brainchild.

She loafed in her room a couple weeks ago and saw a TV commercial of how teenage tormenters often pass hateful letters to classmates – hoping to menace little underdogs.

It was almost National Anti-Bullying and Red Ribbon week at her Russell Middle School.

“I thought why not give a note to everyone in my school – saying all good things,” giggled the Flatwoods girl addressing her sense of duty.

It would surely prove an uphill struggle – handwriting more than 200 heartening messages. Katherine grabbed her girlfriends and a felt tip, then got to work. They even jotted special memorandums for their world’s greatest Russell Independent teachers.

This pen-to-paper crusade is the young scholars’ personal movement to pull the plug on school bullying. It took each one about three hours to scribble optimistic reminders of other students’ positive attributes.

For inspiration on what to what to write, they stopped to look around their school – and took note of fellow students’ integrity, uprightness, brains and sparkles.

“We should be nice to everyone. No one deserves to be put down,” said good-humored Gabrielle, brushing aside writer’s cramps.

Chelsi knows what it’s like to be browbeaten. Last school-year she was dubbed, “stupid and dumb,” by some classmates.

“When you’re put down like that it makes you feel like nothing,” Chelsi said. “My parents, sister and friends did everything to make me feel good about myself.”

With devilish grins as they headed out on detail – and a pigeonholed principal permission slip to cut afternoon class for their assignment – the threesome stood in the hallway and craftily divided the mountain of gummy goodness into thirds.

A few schoolteachers poked their heads out from classrooms, winking and turning a blind eye. By the end of the adventure, classmates were rendered speechless by beams of light overtaking the otherwise foggy day.

Mission accomplished, they declared.

Chelsi, Gabrielle and Katherine – who scoffed glory and acclaim; originally planned to keep the random act of kindness a squad secret – now plan to continue the venture, dispatching weekly communiqués to school buddies.

In the meantime, Gabrielle stays alert for bullies.

“If you see it you gotta tell a teacher or adult immediately. Don’t be scared to come forward or step up to help. Go to that bully and tell him to stop it. Then try to make sure the person getting bullying is OK.

“I don’t know why they still bully. We all know better.”

Tammie Hetzer-Womack writes for the Greenup Beacon, where this story first appeared.

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