Thirteen-year-old PEC member Dylan Krause is fed up. He’s seen too many kids at his Buda middle school teased, excluded and pushed around, and this October, for National Bullying Prevention Month, he’s decided to do something about it.
“Bullying is so messed up, and I want to fix it,” he said. “I decided to start an anti-bullying campaign to inspire many kids and staff to treat people with respect. If a bully[ing] victim is alone and worried about being picked on, they should be able to come to students and teachers for help.”
One in three U.S. students say they have been bullied at school, and most bullying happens in middle school, specifically verbal and social bullying, according to stopbullying.gov. Because it’s so common in public schools, Krause wants victims to know they are valued and not alone, that it’s safe to seek support from peers and teachers. What better way to create a safety network, he said, than to have anti-bullying allies wear their support on their sleeves — literally?
With the after-hours help of PEC Internal Communications Specialist Ruth Silva, Krause created T-shirts to distribute to his classmates with the phrase, “Be Kind Be Litty” (translation: “Be kind, be cool”). His goal is for the shirts and their message to grow in popularity, even beyond his school campus.
“When people wear this shirt, it lets others know that they are safe,” Krause said. “It’s also a great way to hold those who wear [the T-shirt] accountable for their actions. I just want to continue to spread the word about ending bullying so that kids will learn not to do this to people.”
Krause’s heart for justice and compassion is no surprise to his father, PEC Vegetation Maintenance Supervisor Ryan Krause, who describes his son’s campaign to end bullying as courageous. Ryan Krause thinks student-led initiatives like this are crucial for public education and its environment.
“It takes a lot of courage to stand up for the vulnerable, and I was so happy when he told me [about the campaign],” Ryan Krause said. “Dylan is in the oldest age group at school, and many students look up to those eighth-graders, so it is vital for him and others to use their platform for good. It is important that there is a unified front amongst the kids so issues can be resolved quickly and correctly.”