WAUKEE, Iowa — A video that circulated around Facebook shows Waukee High School students bullying another student. The Waukee school district released a statement saying the students involved with the bullying will face various levels of discipline.
The organization Character Counts wants teachers, students and parents to use this video as a teaching moment on how to treat people with respect.
“That’s a really horrendous incident. That level of impact to a youth is really unacceptable,” said Scott Raecker, director of the Robert D. and Billie Ray Center at Drake University.
That’s what Raecker was thinking when he saw the video of several Waukee High School students bullying another student on Facebook.
“I know that the leadership in the Waukee district and the people that are involved will be working not only on accountability but the expectations of what appropriate behavior is moving forward,” Raecker said.
But he said moving forward it is the responsibility of educators, coaches, and parents to use this negative video in a positive way.
“We have an opportunity, and I believe our responsibility as parents, to talk to our young people about what our expectations would be of them if faced a similar circumstance,” Raecker said.
These conversations directly align with the organization he works for, Character Counts.
“Character Counts transforms lives and strengthens community. It’s built on the framework of the six pillars of character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship,” Raecker said.
This curriculum has been taught to students in Iowa ever since they were in early childhood.
“In the elementary school it looks like one thing that on the recess ground, in the classroom, in the common space areas, do what it might look like in a middle school lunchroom or passing in the halls to a high school and out up into the adult environment,” Raecker said.
He said when it comes to education on respect, the most powerful influencers are peer-to-peer relationships.
“That peer-to-peer youth, the youth influence about what acceptable behavior is and change the norms very quickly,” Raecker said.
Character Counts week starts Sunday and they have resources for schools and families online.