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Club tackles bullying, intolerance with student video

SOLEDAD — While there are many groups and clubs at Soledad High School (SHS), few reach out to other students in the Soledad Unified School District like the way Not In Our Schools (NIOS) Club does.

The NIOS Club, made up of SHS juniors and seniors, is an anti-bullying and intolerance club. The group works at the high school educating their fellow classmates on how to recognize bullying and intolerance and letting them know it is not tolerated on and off school grounds.

Club members also go to the middle and elementary school sites to give presentations about NIOS, urging students to not bully others and report incidents they see. Bullies come in all ages, so it is never too early to stop or prevent bullying.

Recently the school district and the Monterey County Office of Education joined together to bring the first Anti-Cyber Bullying Forum to South County.

The presentation, titled “Unifying to End Cyber Bullying: A Forum to Empower Students to Create a Positive School Culture,” revolved around the video “A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story.”

At the end of the forum, the NIOS Club presented a student-made video to the families in attendance. The video was made by SHS students, with students from San Vicente Elementary School as the actors and some of the props made by students from Main Street Middle School.

The video followed San Vicente student “Kevin,” played by Kevin Ramirez, through his day. The dialogue for the video is written on signs. For instance, bullies knock Kevin’s books to the ground and the teacher comes up with a sign saying, “What happened?” Kevin holds up a sign saying, “I dropped my books.”

A girl who witnessed the bullying holds up a sign saying she should help. Others in the video hold up signs saying “I should do something,” “I should report it” and “I could help.”

The NIOS students wrote the script for the video. They then went to San Vicente School for what might be called a casting call. In talking to the students they figured out who would be best for the roles in the video.

They shot the movie on cell phones and did the editing with the equipment they had on hand. The day after they debuted the video at the Anti-Bullying Forum, MCOE Deputy Superintendent Deneen Guss contacted them for a copy to play for the MCOE Cabinet members.

As a result, the NIOS Club has been invited to the MCOE to use their professional equipment to perfect their editing of the film. Once done, it will be released to all the schools and placed on YouTube for other NIOS clubs around the state and even the country to view the message held in the video.

Club members include Shania Sitko, Elena Meza, Xenia Suarez, Daniela Alcarez, Xitdalli Ramirez, Lori Camacho, Monique Rodriguez, Alyssa Plascencia, Aldo Pizano, Cristal Calderon, Christopher Mandujano, Samantha Perea, Arylene Nunez, Ariana Ramirez, Kimberly Perez, Christal Camacho and Bri Rodriguez. It is made up of six seniors and 11 juniors.

The group is actively looking through this year’s SHS sophomores for members for next year.