The loudest messages may come from peers, but a group of Cypress Ranch High School students are attempting to overcome the negative ones with their anti-bullying video that has gone viral since its release March 30.
The lip dub music video features more than 1,000 Cy Ranch students standing up to bullying to the tune, “Who Do U Think U R?.”
The song, written by Cy Ranch sophomore and local singer/songwriter Kaitlyn Knippers, is not only meant to be an anthem for bullied youth, but it also serves to cut down on bullying through peer pressure.
“It helped our school form an alliance,” said Knippers. “It was really a group led effort. We’re not going to bully each other anymore, and I hope it helps bring other schools together. Now that it’s finished, we’re really seeing the impact.”
The teens hope to prevent another tragedy like what happened to 13-year-old Asher Brown, a student who took his life in 2010 after being bullied for years.
“It’s really tragic, but we can grow and learn from this. We don’t want something like this to happen to another innocent kid,” she said. “No one should ever feel that they have to take their life because of bullying. We want this video to help. Part of the video shows you’re not alone.”
Knippers wrote the song about four months ago to reflect her triumph over a time in her life when everything from her personal appearance to her extracurricular activities seemed to be a target for bullies.
“I have been bullied since elementary school,” she said. “When I started singing, people would say I was stuck up and full of myself. I never wanted to tell people I could sing. People still make fun of me, because I’m a Girl Scout. But I don’t let it bother me. They can’t tear me down any more.”
While Knippers eventually stopped listening to her bullies, it wasn’t until she joined forces with two other students, Triple Oswald and Preston Cox, that the full impact of the song could be achieved.
After hearing Knipper’s anti-bullying message, Oswald, Cy Ranch student president, approached her about making an anti-bullying lip dub video involving the whole school. The two then recruited an aspiring videographer and fellow student, Preston Cox, to film and edit the video. The video also featured former Miss Cy-Fair Mary Kate Baker as choreographer.
A month ago the group got permission from administrators to involve the whole school, and then the true work began.
“We started talking to different student groups and trying to get everyone involved. There was no stopping to rest,” she said.
In the end, they succeeded with more than half the school appearing in the video and pledging to stand against bullying.
“It was worth it. The final product was amazing,” she said. “If everyone hadn’t come together, it wouldn’t have worked so well.”
But what’s most amazing to the students is how far their campaign has spread following the video’s release. In its first weekend, the youtube video has received more than 23,000 views and was seen by thousands more on Fox 26, NBC, Channel 2 and NewsFix.
“Everyone has been talking about it today at school. We’ve been getting calls and administrators have been congratulating us about how many lives the video will impact,” said Knippers. “People who have been bullied know that we’re here and we’re not going to let this continue.”
The song is available for download on itunes at http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/who-do-u-think-u-r/id514146332
All proceeds from the sale of the song will go to National Anti-Bullying Campaign.
Tue Apr 3, 2012.
Cy Ranch teens continue to spread anti-bullying message with video By CRYSTAL SIMMONS Houston Community Newspapers