Sam Penrod, Deseret News
AMERICAN FORK — A sixth-grade student has come up with an idea to stop cyberbullying and build self-esteem in a safe environment.
Chase Knighton calls it "Rally” because he said younger students need to rally against the bad things and celebrate the good things.
"It's kind of just to cheer everyone on and help them feel good about themselves,” he said.
His teacher, Charlotte McGee, is crediting him with using technology in a positive way. The students do a lot of their school work using a Google account, and Chase created a Google document where students can support each other.
"Someone just wrote, 'I passed the test,' and I wrote back, 'Nice job,'” Chase said.
"He has chosen to create this online community, if you will, to help those in his class really come together and build that community,” McGee said.
Rally includes everyone. Those on Rally accept everyone in games. They cheer for everyone who passes tests and those who perform in assemblies. When someone is feeling down, Rally tries to cheer him or her up.
Students at Shelley Elementary in American Fork are not only learning to be nice to each other online, but also to be safe.
“It's a place where I, as a teacher, help my students at their young age learn how to be appropriate online and make good choices on the Internet and how to interact with people there in a positive way,” McGee said.
Even in elementary school, cyberbullying can be a challenge. "There have been times when I have had to remind students about cyberbullying, using technology of some sort to harass or tease or taunt someone else,” she said, “and so it was so exciting to see someone with that refreshing idea of (using) technology to celebrate successes or to share concerns and then get support.”
Chase's idea was recently recognized by the Alpine School District, and after just a few weeks, he believes Rally is working.
"Just people feeling down like something happened out of school, and once they get to school everybody cheers them up. It's a positive influence,” he said.
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