Ron LeeMay 20, 2016, 12:50 pmMay 20, 2016, 12:50 pm

Oceanside Middle School students pledge to stand up to hate

About 800 kids hold up signed pledges as part of national movement

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If there's power in numbers, hundreds of students at Oceanside Middle School made it known today that their school is no place for hate.

They stood side by side — about 800 students in total — lining the hallways of the school.

And in their hands, they held up pledges in which they signed their names and vowed to stand up to hate.

“Being a part of that felt really good because I've seen people being bullied first hand and I've seen their reactions,” says 7th grader Max Coppola. “And just to know that we're all doing something to try to make a change is a really good feeling."

Coppola and all of his fellow students at Oceanside Middle School are now part of a movement started by the Anti-Defamation League in which about 400 schools nationwide are pledging that their school is no place for hate.

"I think if we didn't have the program, kids wouldn't know what to do," says Kara Smith, a 7th grader.

The campaign in Oceanside began Thursday with students in English and Social Studies classes being exposed to and discussing film clips and literature related to the Holocaust and other examples of human hate.

Wren Allegra, also in 7th grade, says, "I definitely think this helped, and I think it will show people that they really should stand up and help others."

Following this sign of solidarity, the students taped their pledges above lockers and on walls throughout the building as a reminder of their commitment.

Principal Allison Glickman-Rogers tells FiOS1 News the school hopes to make an even bigger difference by conducting a survey of students, staff and families to find out which aspects of hate — be it bullying, anti-Semitism, or homophobia – are most problematic.

"We'll be using that data next year, working with a committee to design curricular experiences, programs, assemblies, and other events, staff development, parent workshops, that will address the needs as determined by the survey," says Glickman-Rogers.

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