Ella Ogletree, Photographer

#DoItForDrayke has been a popular hashtag this past month. It is used to show love and support for Drayke Hardman, 12, who committed suicide after being bullied repeatedly at school, and his family. This tragic story quickly became popular across the nation. It has opened the minds and hearts of thousands. It also helped remind schools about the importance of preventing bullying.  

Matt Smith is a vice principal here at Rocky and in an interview, he helped to break down what exactly bullying is and how it is defined. Smith said, “What everyone considers “bullying” is broken down into three things: Peer, conflict, bullying, and harassment… 

  1. Peer Conflict: One time event, Balance of power exists, NOT a group picking on one person, and students and willing to work out conflict or leave each other alone 
  2. Bullying: carried out repeatedly over time, there is an imbalance of power, intention, or planned harms, and it is an unprovoked action 
  3. Harassment: Aggressive behavior focused on race, national origin, religion, color, disability, or gender- it’s persistent behavior that interferes with a student’s ability to participate or benefit from school” 

After a survey was sent out to the school, 27% of the students surveyed admitted to getting bullied here at Rocky and 59% of the students admitted to knowing someone who was bullied at Rocky. Rocky’s administration is big on addressing bullying, yet there are few bullying and harassment issues reported. Many of the cases end up being peer conflict and will get resolved with little-to-no issues.  

A big way Rocky’s teachers and administrative try to prevent bullying is by creating connections.  

Danielle Blumhardt, English teacher, said that recently, “Teachers were asked to put a dot by a photo of the students they have a connection with.” After collecting all the names from the teachers, the counselors took the list and whomever had little to no dots, “The counselors would reach out to the teachers that had those students and would ask them to try and create a connection with them, and to remain aware of them going forward in the year.”  

It was a little, yet huge step in helping Rocky be a safe place for EVERYONE, and it shows. The survey showed that 98% of the students polled felt like they were “safe” at Rocky, and one source said that Rocky’s administration was “doing an excellent job” at preventing bullying. 

Everyone has a role in helping bullying be scarce at Rocky. Another anonymous source said one way they prevent bullying is to “Be kind to everyone, not treating people like they are beneath me, because no one is beneath me. Making sure I think of others’ emotions as well as my own.”  

“Being kind” was a big response that many students shared when asked ways they try to prevent bullying. Other answers included to be “respectful, to stay out of people’s business, help peers out.” Giving someone a smile can go a long way, as well as giving compliments to the students around you.  

Mr. Smith also gave many ways students at Rocky can help stop bullying: 

  1. “Report issues they see to their teacher – Knowing the dynamics of social issues helps teachers watch for it.  A student who is bullying another does not want that to be seen by adults, so pointing it out helps.   
  2. Do not let your friends’ bully others because they think it is “funny”- if you have a friend doing this, say something about it! Peer pressure works, everyone wants to be funny, but nobody wants to be labeled a bully. 
  3. Do not say rude things on social media…most of our bullying is in electronic form…so…do not say rude things or respond to rude things online……it never ends well.”

Doing these things can help prevent bullying and help change the lives of kids getting bullied. No one deserves to get bullied. Taking little steps like the ones above and spreading kindness can help make Rocky a better and safer place.