For one week, after-school dance instructor Tamika Murrill and her tiny team of dancers launched a campaign to raise awareness about bullying.
The purpose of the week was to teach kids what bullying actually means and how to identify harmful bullying behavior, said Northside Elementary School guidance counselor Virginia Fox.
“This was something so positive and supportive for our kids that everyone at the school wanted to get involved,” Murrill said.
The anti-bullying week ended Friday with a glow-stick dance for the entire school. The dance’s main event featured Murrill’s iNavigate fourth- and fifth-grade dance club performing a routine it had been practicing all week.
The team of more than 25 iNavigate dancers performed their routine to the song “Good Time” through the haze of fog machines in front of a crowd of proud parents.
“People use the word bullying to describe things that are not actual bullying,” Fox said. “If we throw around the word bullying too often, it will become something less serious than it is.”
Bullying is repeated, aggressive behavior where one person holds all of the power. Bullying can cause serious emotional damage and is different from normal peer conflict, Fox said.
After the dance, Murrill said she felt the program was a success.
Kika Larick, a fourth-grade student who took part in the dance, said Kick for Kindness week taught her what it meant to be bullied.
“It’s really not a good thing to do, and you should really stand up against bullying if you see it,” Larick said.
Larick also said she one day hopes to be a pediatrician.
“When they understand it, it really makes my heart melt,” Murrill said.
Aine Fitzgerald, another fourth-grade student who took part in the dance, said she learned what to do if she witnessed bullying.
“If someone is hurting you, then you tell them to stop — walk away. And if they keep bullying you, then talk to a teacher,” said Fitzgerald, who added that she wants to grow up to be a teacher.
Kick for Kindness is part of a national campaign against bullying started by the National Dance Week Foundation.
Cathy Graziano, executive director of the National Dance Week Foundation, said the campaign is for dancers around the country to stand up against bullying.
“Our event is really for all ages because bullying affects all ages,” she said.