It’s not just coincidence that a lot of Goshen Middle School students and staff have been sporting blue pinky fingernails. The blue nails are a part of a nationwide movement to combat bullying between girls.
Goshen Middle School joined other schools across the country in taking part of Secret deodorant company’s Mean Stinks campaign. Secret provided a 15-minute film called Meanamorphosis, posters, t-shirts and other supplies for the program. All of Goshen Middle School’s female students were able to see the film and hear more about the campaign at special assemblies a couple weeks ago, and then were invited to have their pinky fingernails painted blue during lunch as a symbol of wanting to combat bullying.
The “pinky swear,” according to GMS’ Counselor Jan Desmarais-Morse, means that “I’m going to do my part to not be a bully, to speak up when someone is being bullied. It’s just a symbolic gesture.”
While bullying between boys is more often physical, Desmarais-Morse explained that “girls’ aggression is often very relational: ostracizing, name calling, that kind of thing.”
Desmarais-Morse wants to continue the momentum at Goshen Middle School. Posters are up around the school and a banner outside the school’s cafeteria has hundreds of signatures from students agreeing to “Gang Up for Good.” Desmarais-Morse also still has several bottles of blue fingernail polish in her office available to staff and students to continue to keep up the blue pinkies.
Desmarais-Morse estimated that almost half of the student population had their pinkies painted on the initial day of the campaign – mostly girls, but some boys as well.
A few GMS seventh-grade girls said they wanted to paint their pinkies blue because it was a fun way to engage in an anti-bullying campaign. They hadn’t yet seen situations where they needed to stand up against bullying, though, they said.
“The large majority of our kids are coming to school everyday and doing what we expect of them, going to class and being respectful,” Desmarais-Morse said.
She also noted that lots of times situations are called bullying that are actually conflict. “We need to better education our kids what the difference is between bullying and conflict.”
While conflict is disagreement, the legal definition of bullying is “an overt, unwanted, repeated act or gesture, including written or verbal communications or images transmitted in any manner, physical acts, or any other behaviors that are committed by a student or group of students against another student with the intent to harass, ridicule, humiliate, intimidate, or harm the other targeted student and create for the targeted student an objectively hostile school environment.”
To learn more about Secret’s Mean Stinks campaign, visit www.MeanStinks.com