AMERICAN FORK — A sixth grade student in American Fork has developed a program with the idea to stop cyber bullying and to provide a place where other students can feel safe online.
Chase Knighton called his anti-bullying program "Rally," and his teacher is crediting him with using technology in a positive way. The students do a lot of their school work using a Google account, and Knighton created a shared Google document where students can support each other.
"Kind of just to cheer everyone on and help them feel good about themselves," Knighton said. "Someone just wrote, 'I passed the test!' And I wrote back, 'Nice job.' "
Knighton's sixth grade teacher, Charlotte McGee, said she loves her class at Shelley Elementary because she feels that her students are all on the same team. McGee said that Knighton's online encouragement program has helped contribute to that feeling.
"He (Chase) has chosen to create this 'online community,' if you will, to help those in his class really come together and build that community," McGee said.
McGee emphasized the importance of teaching young students how to interact online.
"It's a place where I as a teacher help my students at their young age learn how to be appropriate online and make good choices on the Internet and how to interact with people there in a positive way," she said.
Principal Peggy Crandall said she encourages teachers helping students learn online etiquette at an early age because even in elementary school, cyber bullying is a problem.
"There have been times when I have had to remind students about cyber bullying, using technology of some sort to harass or tease or taunt someone else," Crandall said. "So it was so exciting to see someone with that refreshing idea of, 'What if we used technology to celebrate successes or to share concerns and then get support?' "
Knighton's idea was recently recognized by the Alpine School District, and after just a few weeks, he believes that "Rally" is working.
"Just people feeling down like something happened out of school and once they get to school, everybody cheers them up," Knighton said. "It's a positive influence."