CRYSTAL LAKE – As the kickoff for next week’s Rachel’s Challenge, an anti-bullying program, Hannah Beardsley Middle School turned to an upbeat speaker and humor Friday.
Motivational speaker Jason Raitz told stories of his experiences with bullying and pitted three volunteers against each other in a contest that showed just how irreversible some things are.
Raitz, who is from Michigan, has been delivering his anti-bully message at schools all over the country for 15 years. He started the nonprofit organization called Live Now Leadership.
On Oct. 11, the middle school will bring in Rachel’s Challenge, an emotional presentation by the family of Rachel Joy Scott, the first person killed in the 1999 Columbine High School shootings in Littleton, Colo. The day will include presentations for the students and at 7 p.m. an event for parents and the community at the school, 515 E. Crystal Lake Ave.
“My grandma always said, ‘Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you.’ That’s not true,” Raitz told students Friday. “Words have the power to hurt somebody where it matters the most and that’s the heart.”
In explaining different ways in which students bully one another, and to drive home the point that bullying words have permanency, Raitz used toothpaste. Three student volunteers raced to get all of the toothpaste out of tubes given to them. Afterward, they tried to put the toothpaste back in. All failed.
“It’s almost impossible to get those words back,” Raitz told the students. “Once you say those words, it’s so hard to get them back.
Raitz also give a presentation at 7 p.m. Sunday at Willow Creek Crystal Lake, 220 Exchange Drive. There will be guest panel of a church pastor, school principal, teacher, parent and counselor.