Affton Students and CharacterPlus Partner to Prevent Cyberbullying With #startswithus

On Thursday, Oct. 29, Affton High School students and staff took a stand against cyberbullying. With a visit from St. Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long, CharacterPlus® and KTVI (FOX2), the student body gathered to kick-off the #startswithus campaign. Students from seven Missouri and Illinois high schools will be working in person and on social media to encourage acceptance and support for all students.

15startswithus-4“As educators, we have to realize that students are all over social media. It is our responsibility to set examples on how to use social media in positive ways,” said Amy Gielow, Special School District teacher at Affton High School and #startswithus co-coordinator.

Students from Affton, Bolivar, Collinsville, Fox, Herculaneum, Lindbergh and Soldan International Studies will be working together to share and reinvigorate the #startswithus hashtag that was developed by 80 high school students last year. This school year, Affton High School students have engaged students throughout the district to post messages on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook that include the #startswithus hashtag and actively encourage random acts of kindness.

“Affton High School is fortunate to work in collaboration with CharacterPlus and the St. Louis Rams to show schools across the St. Louis area ways social media can be used to build friendships and unify schools,” adds Tony Muyco, Affton High School social studies teacher and #startswithus co-coordinator. “We look forward to continuing our efforts throughout the school year and helping make this campaign a success!”

“Providing cooperative leadership opportunities for students enhances the experience of15startswithus-1 learning. Our students demonstrated how influential it can be to work with others toward a common goal,” said Jon Langhans, assistant principal. “The commitment of Mr. Muyco and Ms. Gielow clearly demonstrates the impact teachers have on the lives of students and the community.”

In addition to leading the kick-off assembly, Affton’s #startswithus team debuted an anti-cyberbullying video and appeared on FOX2 news alongside students from other #startswithus schools. Future events include the Rams home game on Sunday, Nov. 1 where students will choreograph and participate in multiple “Flash Mobs” in the tailgate area to call attention to the issue of cyberbullying, as well as presenting their #startswithus experience at the Midwest Educational Technology Conference in February.

For more information about #startswithus or CharacterPlus, please visit www.edplus.org/characterplus.