After the loss of his son to suicide, Ralston superintendent Dr. Mark Adler and his wife started the movement using the hashtag “Be Kind”. School has been in session for about a month-and-a-half now and that campaign is still going strong the Omaha area.
For some of the students at Ralston, their actions have changed inside and outside the classroom just from the simple message to be kind. They say this message has spread to everyone causing a positive shift in the school's culture.
Reminders to be kind can be found all over Ralston High School. Ralston principal Jesse Tvardy says the “Be Kind” initiative was a priority at the beginning of the school year. "I think it's really easy not to be kind, it can be an unkind world,” said Tvardy. She says that idea has now changed.
One daily reminder to be kind are handmade hearts with handmade notes taped on lockers all over the school. Kealy Fischer spent days making those and anonymously put them on every locker. "I didn't want it to be some self-gratification, I wanted it to be more than that,” said Fischer.
Senior Hailee Betts is part of Rambassadors, a group that helps fellow students throughout the year. Which is making sure to keep the “Be Kind” message in mind. “You never know what somebody is going through and it's just nice to have somebody that's kind and it just makes their day and your day,” said Betts.
Some students say that they have noticed a positive change at school. “A lot more students are a lot more kinder, they focus more on other people and not themselves,” said Betts. “I think kids are opening up the doors, we're having our manners, saying please and thank you a lot more, I think we've been treating the cafeteria better and cleaning up after ourselves,” said Fischer.
Principal Tvardy says that the be kind message hasn't stopped at the students either, staff communication has also changed. “We started a kudos page, making sure that we are giving affirmation to staff that are doing kind things, making sure that we are recognizing everyone inside the building,” said Tvardy. Because one random act of kindness can go a long way.
The “Be Kind” initiative is now in 35 schools in the Omaha metro, and students and staff say this is something that should be done across the state because it truly changes how everyone interacts with each other inside and outside of school.