Capstone Works to Stop Bullying and Harassment

Giving a voice to help those who may be afraid to speak out. That was the goal of the Senior Capstone group of Lizzie Ruetschle and Kristen Shelley when they took on the subjects of bullying and sexual harassment for their Capstone Project.

“We were inspired to take this on as our Capstone Project because we believe that it is something that isn’t talked about much at CJ,” Ruetschle and Shelley said. “We believe that they will not go away so people have to talk about them.”

The group implemented their project in two parts. In October, the pair encouraged the CJ community to wear blue shirts on Blue Shirt World Day in support of bullying prevention. In March, the pair went to sophomore religion classes to share statistics about bullying and sexual harassment and encouraged awareness and prevention of the subject by asking students to take a pledge using their traced hand cut out on colored paper.

“Our handprint poster board was our own take on Hands for Courage, a campaign that uses colorful handprints to show support for those suffering from bullying and sexual harassment,” the pair explained.

“We hoped the students learned to stand up against sexual harassment,” they continued. “Standing up against it is the first step to ending sexual harassment. We hope that people will recognize what is going on around them and become more compassionate people.”

“Lizzie and Kristen both displayed a passion for addressing issues of harassment and bullying in the high school environment,” added the group’s mentor, Jama Badinghaus. “They wanted to bring attention to the issue, but more importantly they wanted to empower their peers to stand up and advocate for just treatment of all students. They have come to understand that even though sometimes issues seem large and difficult to tackle, we can all do something to bring light where there is darkness. Their project highlights how sometimes simply standing up and lifting our hands in courage can plant seeds that will hopefully permeate over time to grow lasting change.”

Posted March 29, 2017