Bradley County 2nd grader forms anti-bullying group
CLEVELAND, TN (WRCB)- The cool students at Taylor Elementary School in Bradley County all belong to the same club. They're ABC members: The Anti-Bullying Club.
It all started when second grader John McCracken decided that bullying could best be stopped by students themselves. He organized a club, came up with wristbands that proclaim "Be Cool, not Cruel," and made the rules: you don't say bad things about others, you don't make fun of what they're wearing or what they look like, you don't tell lies about them, and you treat them with respect and love.
Second grade teacher Debbie Shroyer said, "Those were John's words. He told me that's what you have to do to be in the club, so I typed it up for him."
Director of Schools Johnny McDaniel said, "Those are the ideals we should live by. It is very inspiring that this came from the mind of a second grader. I am so proud of John McCracken."
McDaniel and other county school officials kicked off the program Thursday at Taylor Elementary by letting students know that they can make a difference. They hope that by empowering students, they're sending a message that bullying is not a part of a welcoming school environment.
McCracken, a cheerful, outgoing 8-year-old, said "People shouldn't be bullied at this school, and I don't see any of it. But I know it goes on at some schools, and we need to let kids know that they shouldn't get bullied at Taylor or anywhere else."
For now, Taylor Elementary is home to the first and only ABC club in Bradley County. But now that John McCracken and his fellow students have made the commitment, made the pledge, and begun honoring their promise, this is a second-grade idea that can spread throughout Bradley County and beyond.
Sheena Newman, elementary supervisor for the county, said, "You'll be seeing a lot more of this throughout the county, it is something we believe in. Even the middle schools are expressing interest. Those students want an ABC club too."
Principal Dr. Sherry Shroyer said John McCracken sets a good example for other students with his caring attitude and proactive approach to bullying. "We think this is a fantastic idea. And it all started with a second grader!"