Student Positively Fights Bullying

(Thanks to friend Jennifer Testa for bringing the following to me.)

The Facebook post told her she should just go ahead and die.

What would you do in the face of such a horrifying message?

Caitlin Prater-Haacke, the high school junior from Airdrie, Alberta, Canada fought back and fought back hard. So much so that she was first reprimanded by her high school.

Someone broke into Caitlin’s locker at George McDougall High School, got her iPad and used it to post the awful message. Caitlin responded powerfully.

With kindness.

She wrote dozens of positive messages and posted them on lockers throughout the school. Messages like “You’re beautiful,” “You look great today!” and “You’re important.” Initially, the school actually punished Caitlin for littering when some of the positive post-its fell off the lockers onto the floor. (Can you imagine?)

The Toronto Sun finishes the story:

Her mom, Nicole Haacke, said Caitlin was taken out of the classroom and told janitors weren’t there to clean up after her, as well as being yelled at by a teacher.

“I don’t understand that when my kid is bullied, nothing happens, but when she tries to do something positive, she is punished,” Haacke said.

She said she approached the school with her concerns about the locker break-in last week, but nothing was done.

Haacke wrote about the situation on the Airdrie Moms Facebook page and received more than 400 comments of support.

The larger community then banded together to launch a new anti-bullying campaign called Positive Post-it Day, which encourages people to leave anonymous notes of kindness for one another on Oct. 9.

The Staples store in Airdrie is giving away Post-it notes to support the campaign.

“We need people like Caitlin to stand up and take charge of bullying,” said Natalie Flaman, a mother of two George McDougall graduates.

A George McDougall student, who asked to remain anonymous, said many students kept Prater-Haacke’s positive messages because the notes made them feel special.

Police are investigating the locker break-in and Facebook post.

Rocky View Schools division released a statement saying they wouldn’t discuss an individual student, but “student-led events … are essential to building safe and caring learning environments where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.”