More Than Words


Kaitlin Cummins

All schools have initiatives and slogans to promote good behavior, but words aren’t always enough.

Kaitlin Cummins, Staff Writer

“Be the Kind Kid,” is an initiative at North Allegheny encouraging people to be kind. People at North Allegheny are encouraged to make a difference because an initiative tells them to. Opinions on if the “Be the Kind Kid” initiative works are strong here at NAI. 

Sophomore Hayden Cobbs believes that an initiative like this is more important to students in elementary years. High school students are more likely to ignore the initiative, as it can be considered “childish”. The age group of high school and middle school students are less likely to  respond to things like this. 

Kindness is a process.

— Mr. Hull

It is hard to truly know if “Be the Kind Kid” is actually effective in promoting kindness. Social Studies teacher Conrad Warner states that, for the time he has been at North Allegheny, he has seen lots of kind behaviors. But can those be credited to “Be the Kind Kid”? 

He feels that teachers modeling kind behaviors would prove the initiative more effective. Building relationships with the students would help to understand and empathize with them. Teachers can support and empower the students with these relationships. 

Modeling behaviors is bound to happen at school, given that during the school year the majority of the student’s time is spent there. But “Be the Kind Kid” can not be effective if it is one sided. Teachers must participate in the initiative as well in order for change to be made. 

Modeling is learning that occurs through observations followed by imitation. Some teachers may be known for having a more hostile, negative way of handling a classroom. Seeing these behaviors throughout the day, students are more likely to model it. 

Sophomore Mason Smith says, “Kids are expected to take bogus because that’s what ‘the kind kid’ would do. The kind kid isn’t allowed to stand up for themselves because of the tyranny teachers demonstrate. If teachers never represent kindness or concern, how are students supposed to?”

Kindness can be modeled student to student and teacher to student. (Kaitlin Cummins)

For the initiative to work, teachers should express more care for their students to create better relationships and a better learning environment. 

English teacher Zack Hull believes “kindness is a process,” and can’t be learned overnight. He states that curiosity is the foundation of kindness and learning to advocate for others. As an anti-bullying message, the initiative is great, but it needs to have good content behind it. 

Actively making school a kinder place instead of using “Be the Kind Kid” as just a name needs to happen in order for it to work. Without the content and “the process”, Be the Kind Kid is just words.

For some kids, it’s enough. But for others, a slogan by itself isn’t going to have any kind of impact.

And until that’s changed, Be the Kind Kid is just empty words.