Kearney Public Schools rolls out anti-bullying #BeKind campaign

KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - In the digital age, sending a mean tweet, DM, or ostracizing people has become all too easy and school counselors are seeing a high rate of harmful incidents.

Students at Kearney High School are trying to spread kindness through the new #BeKind campaign. (KSNB)

“We see a variety of things in our office as far as mental health situations, anxiety, depression. Everybody if you feel like you're left out you know that never feels good,” School Counselor Jason Owens said.

So the #BeKind campaign is looking to teach kids how to be more inclusive and saying nice things in normal conversation.

It was originally created by a superintendent in Omaha who lost his son to suicide due to bullying. Owens said he knew Kearney needed to be a part of it.

“It means a second chance. So for all the times when we were going through elementary and middle school when we weren't the kindest or when we didn't include people,” Kearney High School Junior Colton Holoubecksaid. “We now have a second chance to be kind to everyone, include everyone. Make sure they feel part of the team.”

High school juniors are now leading the program and go to the middle and elementary schools to teach kids the four pillars of Be Kind: inclusion, encouragement, trust, and celebrating.

“I think the difficulties that this program addresses are starting to be problems further and further down in age with younger and younger people,” Junior Matthew Dahlke said. “So starting as early as possible will make the biggest difference.”

The school district hopes this program can help kids think more of what they say to each other on social media and how much it could really affect someone.

“With this program we can get more people to encourage others to be more happy and want to be at school,” Junior Macy Tagel said.

Kearney schools will have rewards for kids who are seen being kind to others in hopes this will make the school environment more positive and even prevent the unthinkable.

“At the end of the day, it's not just being nice to everyone it's saving lives. Just being kind to one person can save someone's life,” Holoubeck said.