by Laura Lambert
Second-grader Cameron Thompson is what his mom Jessica calls a natural-born leader. So, it’s not such a surprise that when he was disciplined for bullying another kid at school, he turned the incident into an opportunity — he started an anti-bullying club, with the child he bullied. Seventy-five other kids showed up that first meeting, and the club continues to meet every Friday afternoon to raise awareness.
His YouTube video, “Confessions of a Bully,” tells the whole story.
Reading Rainbow talked to Cameron Thompson about the life lessons we find in the books we love.
Cameron, what are some of your favorite books?
I like Charlotte’s Web, the Berenstain Bears [books] and Green Eggs and Ham.
And what are some of the things you’ve learned from those books?
In Green Eggs and Ham, it shows how you don’t like something but then you should still try it.
I like Charlotte’s Web because it’s about friendship and not giving up on yourself.
And the Berenstain Bears… one of my favorites is about junk food. I learned don’t eat too much junk food because it’s not good for you.
[Jessica] Another one of Cameron’s favorites is Where the Wild Things Are.
What’s your favorite part of second grade?
Learning more mathematics.
What have you learned about bullying since starting your club?
Accept others for who they are.
If you’re being bullied, believe in yourself, stick up for yourself and think, “I can stop this bully.”
What kind of things do you do in your club?
We learn about different behaviors. We make posters. And one week we watched a video.
[Jessica] It was his video.
How did it feel to watch the video with your club?
I felt scared. I was nervous about what my friends would think about me bullying.
And what did they think?
Some said it was awesome. Some said I needed more detail.
[Jessica]: He got a lot of high-fives.
What do you want to tell kids your age about bullying?
That if you are a bully, you should really think about it and try to accept people for who they are.
That’s a great message. Are there any books you can recommend about bullying?
Two Berenstain Bears books. One is about boys who dare the brother to do stuff. It’s about peer pressure. [The Berenstain Bears and the Double Dare]. And the other is a story where only boys are allowed and people are excluded. [The Berenstain Bears No Girls Allowed]
Cameron is a second grade student who got in trouble for a bullying incident in school. He still felt bad for the hurt he had caused the other child. He wanted to fix that feeling of shame and asked to create a club on school campus. His principal allowed him to start the club in conjunction with their current Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program. He’s had an amazing response to his efforts to help prevent bullying. You can find Cameron’s Anti-Bully campaign on YouTube, Facebook and online at antibullycampaign.org