After a series of highly publicized suicides and other horror stories, has become a popular charge for school districts, particularly middle schools, across the nation. Waterford is no exception, with trying to find a way to have students be nice to other students.
The challenge for and his team is to turn this charge into reality. His latest initiative, a series of workshops with students encouraging them to be “upstanders” instead bystanders, is just another step in the plan.
"We start imagining all of the horrible things that might happen, and that prevents us from acting, so we never act," Sachs told students at a Tuesday workshop. "But people do act, and nothing happens, nothing bad happens. A lot of times they are surprised to learn it just stops."
Clark Lane Middle School splits each grade into three teams of around 80 students. For the past couple of weeks, Sachs and Assistant Principal Lynn Lynch met with each team in the cafetorium, encouraging them to do something if a student is being bullied.
“We are trying to get (the students) a little bit out of their comfort zone, and take a stand,” Sachs said. “I know we aren’t going to get every kid. But if we get one or two, there is a ripple effect.”
As part of the assembly, the students broke up into small groups, and were given scenarios. Then, the students would describe how they would be an upstander and not a bystander if somebody is being bullied, such as telling an adult or telling the bully to stop it.
The students were also given an assignment to make a one-minute video public service announcement. The winners will have their video run on the school website and Waterford Patch.