Sheffield comes up with own way to honor victims

Students at Sheffield Area Elementary School will not be walking out on Wednesday.

According to Jennifer Koebley, who teaches third grade at SAES, “after a discussion with students and teachers it was decided that our school should do something a little different on that day.”

Koebley went on to say that “we have decided to stay put and focus on making a change in our schools since we know most of the school-related issues that have sadly resulted in tragedy stem from the treatment of our students by other students.”

Rather than walking out for 17 minutes, said Koebley, SAES students will be challenging every person in the building, including teachers, students, principals, custodians, and all support staff, to do 17 things to create change in the school environment.

The 17 good deeds are to represent the 17 students killed at Parkland on Feb. 14 by Nikolas Cruz.

Koebley said that she saw a Facebook post that gave her the idea, and that after discussing it with her daughters, she brought up the idea to her third grade students who came up with the list of good deeds.

“I just led the discussion,” said Koebley. “They have amazing ideas.”

Among the items suggested on the list are: talking to someone you don’t normally talk to; complimenting someone; holding a door or carrying something to help someone; asking someone to sit with you at lunch; playing with someone new at recess; encourage someone who is struggling; put an anonymous post-it on someone’s desk telling them one thing you like about them; making amends with someone you’ve had an argument with, and being respectful and intentionally listening to others.

Students and staff are also encouraged to think of their own things to do that would have a positive impact on the social environment in the school. Students and teachers are being asked to do these 17 things for 17 days, and then for another 17 days after that.