FORESTVILLE– An 11-year-old Forestville student hopes making an anti-bullying video with other students will go far in her campaign to end bullying, and get others to recognize the negative impacts of the behavior.
Sylvea Cleary, a sixth-grader at Forestville Central School, said she witnessed an incident of bullying several months ago and told her father how much it upset her.
Sylvea also said she has been the target of bullying.
“I didn’t want to talk about it and I thought it would just go away,” she said.
Sylvea said she learned, however, that the bullying does not go away unless there is intervention.
Her father, Sylvester Cleary, a musician and retired banker who is president of the School Board, was motivated by his daughter’s observations and set to work writing a song. “Word Against the Bully” – set to a hip-hop beat.
Cleary took the effort one step further, envisioning a video that could be posted on the Internet and used as a teaching tool to educate students about bullying.
In the meantime, word has spread at the school that a video with dance moves and music was going to be filmed. In the small district of just 544 students, 118 – from elementary through high school grades – agreed to participate.
The students learned dance moves from Kathryn “Kat” Kucvka, a local dance instructor.
“I think a lot of my friends really enjoyed learning the dance moves,” said Sylvea, who noted the effort also brought out local business owners and even members of the local fire department.
“Everybody came together,” said Cleary, who added that technical help was provided by technology adviser Mike Murphy. Music teacher Jeff Geblein helped with instruments and production.
The video is poised to be posted on the Internet, and hopes are high that the video will receive lots of attention. The song is available through the website of the New York State School Boards Association.
“I hope students everywhere get the message, ‘If you see something – say something,’ ” Sylvea said. “I know I won’t just sit by and watch bullying happen.”