Local students design message without using the word 'bully'

Photo Credit: COURTESY GRAPHIC - A poster designed by the Hillsboro Mayors Youth Advisory Council students will hang in local high schools as a part of a multi-faceted anti-bullying campaign.In conjunction with "National Bullying Prevention Month" in October, Hillsboro School District high school students are ready to officially launch their anti-bullying campaign, “Re-Think, Re-Define; Where do you stand?” The student-led campaign was a year-long project involving students who are members of the Mayor's Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) — a group chartered by the mayor to increase youth involvement in local government. Group members worked with Lines for Life, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing substance abuse and suicide by providing support for people dealing with bullying, depression, addiction, mental health and other issues. Lines for Life held educational workshops for the students, then worked with them to create a video and marketing campaign.

The students' key message to their peers is to examine the difference between being a true friend and a "frenemy" — someone who says they're your friend, but whose actions are more like those of an enemy.

Hilhi senior and YAC member Alicia de Jesus Hernandez is excited about sharing the message with the rest of her classmates.

For the past two years, a positive climate and pride campaign called “Live BLUE” has been in place at Hilhi, but according to Principal Arturo Lomeli, the current anti-bullying campaign will take those efforts to the next level. 

“What excites me most about this campaign is that it’s different,” Lomeli said, noting that local students designed and created the message. “The fact that students conceptualized and are leading it makes it more personal and relevant than anything adults could have created.”

Hernandez and the other Hilhi-based YAC members have already met with the leaders of some of the school’s clubs to encourage them to promote the campaign in their own ways throughout the year.  Information has also been shared with staff, as well as with students at the grade-level meetings that kick off each semester.  A school-wide assembly will take place later this year.

Some of the campaign’s “Frenemy” posters can already be seen around campus and, according to Hernandez, these will be rotated out every month or two. 

“We want the posters to stay fresh, tell a story, and show that we are progressing,” she said. YAC members at the district’s three other high schools are working to do multi-faceted rollouts this fall. They plan to begin sharing the message with middle schools in the spring.

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