GENEVA — High school and middle school students took a pledge of kindness Wednesday and tied a spirit ribbon on a fence to signify their commitment to treat all people with kindness and to intervene if they witness unkind behavior.

Geneva Parents for School Safety are hosting Kindness Awareness programs at every Geneva school building this month.

“Kindness is the key to overcoming bullying,” Geneva Parents for School Safety co-director and counselor Marti Milliken Dixon said. “Young people who are kind to each other have far fewer instances of bullying behavior. Teaching a young person kindness is an effective way to improve our society both locally and globally.”

Dixon said about 100 

students at both Geneva High School and Geneva Middle School participated in the ribbon tying and kindness pledge. The ribbons will be left on the chain link fence outside their school building for a month.

“The ribbons blowing in the breeze will be a month-long reminder of their pledge,” she said. “When we empower young people to stand up to the bullies and use positive peer pressure to curb these behaviors, the benefits are palpable. This activity also provides young people with a tangible representation of their good work.”

Margie Netzel,

co-director of Geneva Parents for

School Safety, was at Geneva Middle School during the Kindness Pledge.

“It’s been chaotic today,” she said. “But it’s also been wonderful and amazing. I’m thrilled the kids and the staff at the schools have been so supportive of kindness and safety in the schools. They’ve been great.”

She said Geneva Parents for School Safety is also fundraising toward the purchase of 251 Anchorman emergency lockdown barricades — one for every classroom in the Geneva Area City Schools District.

“We’re currently at 30 percent of our fundraising goal,” Netzel said. “Our sponsors have shown they understand the need for safety in our schools and are helping to make it happen.”

She said Geneva Parents for School Safety is hosting other events this month, including Kindness Rock Painting at Cork, Austinburg and Platt R. Spencer elementary schools, a Compliments Day at Geneva Middle School and planting a Kindness Garden at Geneva Public Library.

Geneva High School Principal Douglas Wetherholt said he was happy to host the kindness and anti-bullying program.

“Anything we can do to help kids be sensitive to others and kinder is a positive thing,” he said. “The anti-bullying message is important to us.”

Geneva Middle School Principal Alex Anderson also said they are doing everything they can to promote kindness and anti-bullying.

“We want to involve the entire community in this effort,” he said.

Olivia Wayslaw, a Geneva High School sophomore, was enthusiastic about the program.

“This is a great way for Geneva to show kindness,” she said. “It’s a good way to try to end bullying, too.”

Sophomore James Opatray agreed, calling it a “good idea.”

“We want to show kindness because

we want to put an end to bullying,” he

said. “Bullying is not good.”

Sophomore Makayla Van Sickle said more positivity is necessary.

“I think the program is good because people always need to show more kindness to each other,” she said.

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