Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Opinion

December 14, 2013

Battling bullying with blue pinkies

The look is stylish, but it’s more than a fashion statement.

For a visual reference, check out the photo at the top of the page of Friday’s Goshen News. The picture shows Goshen Middle School seventh-grader Karla Rodriguez holding up her blue-painted pinky fingernails. Blue pinkies are catching on at GMS, and its a trend we’re happy to see.

According to the article by Goshen News staff writer Sherry Van Arsdall, students and staff at GMS have pledged to stand up against bullying at their school. They’re painting their pinkies blue to show their commitment to the cause.

The blue nails movement is part of a nationwide effort, one specifically targeting girl-on-girl bullying. GMS counselor Jan Desmarais-Morse said girls have taken a symbolic “pinky swear” that they will do their part not to bully and to speak up when someone is being abused.

“This is a way to encourage students to do the right thing,” Desmarais-Morse said. “I believe they have an inner desire to be kind, but they need encouragement to have courage to stand out and protect.”

We share Desmarais-Morse’s optimism about our young people. We’re also heartened by the blue pinky project, and any efforts underway in schools or elsewhere to curb bullying behavior.

A program targeted at girls is fine — as Desmarais-Morse told us, girl bullying takes on different forms than boy bullying. That said, the problem knows no gender or socioeconomic boundaries. It’s been a scourge of too many young people for too long.

Viewing bullying as a rite of passage is an outdated notion. Vicious, sustained abuse can leave lifelong emotional scars. And if bullying is such a builder of strength and character in the bullied, why not encourage it in our workplaces and churches?

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There has been discussion at West Goshen Elementary School to require mandatory student uniforms in the future. How do you feel about the prospect of mandatory student uniforms in a public school environment?

I think it’s an excellent idea that is way overdue
I think it’s a bad idea and would be restrictive for students and parents.
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