A truth that rarely gets addressed in anti-bullying campaigns is that bullying is cool. When bullies walk around a school, other students are intimidated. Some are even impressed. Their behavior is rewarded.
So, when our team brainstormed personalized ways to combat bullying at Greenspun Middle School, (GMS) we and the students, chose to work on giving power to the idea of being uncool.
Our goal was to make GMS the un-coolest school in the United States. Starting with a kickoff assembly featuring “uncool” music and performers, the word spread that doing uncool things would get rewarded. Students and staff would be on the lookout for people who sat at the uncool table, made friends with the new kid, or opened up the cliques to work together. Those who did these “uncool” things would earn uncool bucks that could be used towards items in the schools’ uncool store, including tickets to events, t-shirts and pizza parties. In a sense, the students were flipping the script on bullying by redefining what’s really cool while the bullies were left empty-handed.