A Grade 11 student was reprimanded for reacting to an act of bullying by covering all of her fellow students’ lockers in Post-it notes with positive messages.
Caitlin Prater-Haacke said that on Sept. 25, somebody broke into her locker at George McDougall High School and used her iPad to post a Facebook status update that told her to die.
“Bullying is not necessarily addressed, and people get really down about it, I wanted to do something positive—it was about due time,” Prater-Haacke said.
So, before students arrived at school on Oct.6, Prater-Haacke took it upon herself to cover all 850 students’ lockers with positive messages.
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Some of her kind messages included “You’re awesome” and “You’re beautiful.”
However, because some of the Post-its fell off the lockers, the school, located in Alberta, Canada, reprimanded her for littering.
According to the student’s mom, Nicole Haacke, a teacher yelled at Caitlin after her attempt at kindness; the student was also taken out of the classroom and told janitors weren’t there to clean up after her.
“I don’t understand that when my kid is bullied, nothing happens, but when she tries to do something positive, she is punished,” Haacke said.
Haacke also noted that she approached the school with concerns about the locker break-in, but that nothing was done about it. She proceeded to write about the situation on the Airdrie Moms Facebook page, where she received more than 400 comments of support.
“We need people like Caitlin to stand up and take charge of bullying,” said Natalie Flaman, a mother of two George McDougall graduates.
In response to the series of incidents, the community launched a new anti-bullying campaign called Positive Post-it Day: the campaign encourages people to leave anonymous notes of kindness for one another on Oct. 9.
The Airdrie Staples store is even giving away Post-it notes to support the campaign.
Calgary Sun reports that a George McDougall student, who asked to remain anonymous, said that many students kept Prater-Haacke’s positive messages because the notes made them feel special.
Police are investigating the locker break-in and Facebook post.