Chantilly girl spreads anti-bullying message


After having a tough time in middle school, Chantilly student Hannah Harmison decided to make a video speaking out against bullying. Her public service announcement, called “Cliques,” won an award from the Girl Scouts. (FAMILY PHOTO)
May 14, 2013

Hannah Harmison spoke out about bullying by using only a few words.

The Chantilly High School freshman entered a contest to create an anti-bullying public service announcement (a video that’s like a TV commercial). Although there’s no talking in the Hannah’s video, the message is clear.

“When you’re exclusive and mean you don’t make any friends, in fact you just make enemies,” Hannah wrote in her contest entry.

The video, called “Cliques” (a word for groups that exclude other people) won first place in a recent “Girl Scouts Speak Out” contest. The national competition encourages girls to create videos about important issues. Five finalists were chosen by online voting, and “Cliques” was among the top five, with more than 5,300 votes. Girl Scout officials picked Hannah’s video as the winner.

“Cliques,” which was filmed at Hannah’s school, stars 15 of her friends. In the opening scenes, four girls walk around school treating other students badly. They whisper, make mean faces and even push girls out of the way. But one of the four doesn’t seem to be enjoying herself, and soon the other three girls are whispering about her.

The girl is next seen on the bathroom floor, crying. A classmate notices and decides to stand up to the bullies. Others stand up, too. In the final scene, the mean girls are shown backing away from the group.

The message at the end: “There’s strength in numbers, don’t limit yours.”

The video, which Hannah directed and edited, was inspired, in part, by her own experience of being bullied as a sixth-grader.

“It came out of the blue,” she said. “I remember that when it happened to me, I felt alone.”

Hannah said she could have handled the situation better if she and all her friends had spoken up.

She has heard similar stories from fellow students about their years in middle school. In high school, Hannah said, she has noticed less drama among girls.

“I sort of figured out which ones are my friends and which ones aren’t,” she said.

Hannah said she hopes the video will help younger kids realize the power of friendship.

“There’s always going to be people who don’t like you and there will always be people trying to keep you down,” she wrote in her contest entry. “But when you have friends on your side, you can stand up to anything.”

To watch “Cliques,” go to speakout.
girlscouts.org/finalist/winner/7
. Always ask a parent before going online.

— Christina Barron

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