Westside implements new #BeKind motto


Claire Benson, Wired Co-Editor-In-Chief

With a new school year comes a new district wide motto. Westside, as well as many other Omaha school districts, have implemented the motto #BeKind. It was first created by Dr. Mark Adler, the Ralston school district superintendent. Several years ago, Adler’s son committed suicide after being bullied at his school, which sparked the idea for the #BeKind motto.

Principal Jay Opperman elaborated on the background of the motto.

“[Adler] and his wife really brought that motto to Omaha as a way to, in my interpretation at least, productively remember their son and to do something good,” Opperman said.

Opperman explained how the motto is being spread around Omaha.

“Over the past few years they [the Adler family] really have been focused on spreading this message of being kind,” Opperman said. “This last spring I think the Millard superintendent was very integral about trying to encourage the whole metro area. All the superintendents met and discussed it being a theme for all metro area schools.”

Opperman explained why he believes this new motto is important.

“I think it comes down to really respecting all kinds of people no matter their differences or backgrounds,” Opperman said. “When I come to work everyday, I haven’t walked in someone’s shoes, so my approach needs to start from a place of kindness.”

Towards the end of the 2017-2018 school year, Westside student council was alerted about the #BeKind motto and its importance in the upcoming school year.

Biruk Tewodros, a student council co-president, explained how Westside’s student council got involved with the project.

“The creators of #BeKind approached the principals and superintendents of every school and asked them if there was a representative group of the school that could really pass this message along,” Tewodros said. “Mr. McCann and Mr. Opperman chose student council to do that.”

Several members of the council then attended a #BeKind conference in which students from across the metro area brainstormed ways they could bring kindness into their schools.

Sophomore Dayzee Mayfield attended the #BeKind convention last Friday, August 24th, which was held at University of Nebraska Omaha. Mayfield is also in charge of student council’s #BeKind activities.

“When I attended the #BeKind convention, Mark Adler and his wife told us about the tragedy that happened to their son; this made a huge impact on me personally,” Mayfield said. “After their presentation, schools from Nebraska and Iowa split up and collaborated on ideas of how to incorporate #BeKind into their schools. Each school is now applying their ideas to make schools a better place.”

Mayfield elaborates on what student council is doing for the #BeKind motto, and hopes to see a positive impact on Westside with it.

“Student Council’s first step was handing out #BeKind bracelets and playing an impactful video of how kindness affects people within our school district,” Mayfield said. “From now on, each month, a club from Westside will make a video or plan an activity for homeroom to keep the idea of kindness within our school.”

“I truly hope that it makes our school a better place, where people don’t have to feel alone or like they are not enough,” Mayfield said. “#BeKind should be everyone’s motto, you have no idea what people around you are going through, it just take one kind thing to make a person’s day.”