Standing together

BHS hosts ‘Be Kind Day’ instead of walk-out

BHS ceremony 2

Bellefontaine Police Chief Brandon Standley asks members of the Bellefontaine High School student body to stand Friday and take a moment to pause and reflect during an assembly “Chieftain Nation Stands Together — Be Kind Day” initiated by several members of the senior class. Behind him is a table of candles lit in memory of the 17 students and staff members killed in the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. The assembly at the school auditorium was optional for students to attend. (EXAMINER PHOTOS | MANDY LOEHR)


Bellefontaine High School Principal Pam Noeth told members of the student body gathered at a ceremony Friday they are “living through some strange times” in light of the wave of violence and school shootings across the country.

Similar thoughts were on the minds of a group of high school seniors who approached their principal several weeks ago regarding the National School Walk-Out Day. They heard about students across the country who planned to walk out of their classes Friday, April 20, on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting, advocating for gun control.

While the BHS pupils said they didn’t necessarily want to walk out of their classes, they thought it was important to both commemorate the lives of other pupils and teachers lost in school shootings, and also to promote positive school culture within their building and learn how they can make the school a safer place.

So the idea for the “Chieftain Nation Stands Together — Be Kind Day” was formed. An optional morning assembly for students took place in the school auditorium Friday. Pupils and staff members had the option also to wear “Be Kind” T-shirts that were created for the occasion.

“The best thing that we can do to prevent and ward off violence is to promote a positive school culture,” Noeth said. “We need to look out for each other and be kind to one another. I want this to be the best place for you to be; the safest place for you.”

While walking into the assembly, each of the students received an index card, and they were asked to write down one thing they can do for their community.

“You guys can make a difference,” their principal said in closing. During the ceremony, pupils lit a total of 17 candles as their principal read the names of the 17 students and staff members who were killed in the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., one of the world’s deadliest school massacres. A moment of silence was observed after the candles were lit.

Read complete story in Saturday's Examiner
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