Toms River Students Create ‘Fight Song’ Against Bullying

By Lauren Wanko

These North Dover Elementary School students are watching a music video they starred in.

“It’s a new song and a lot of kids know it, so they kind of know the tune that it goes to,” said fourth grader Mariana Kaiafas.

The kids are singing Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” except their lyrics are focused on anti-bullying. The Toms River students know a thing or two about creating music videos with a positive message. Last year they become celebrities of sorts after releasing their version of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.”

“Last year’s video had around 45,000 hits around the world on YouTube,” said principal Colleen McGrath.

The goal of the video? “To get the message out that bullying is not acceptable,” said McGrath. “It is not OK, and when you’re going to use your words, chose them carefully and always use them in a positive way.”

“It’s important that we did this anti-bullying message because if you bully someone it makes you feel bad too, and the other person and it’s just not right,” said Kaiafas.

“You can get sad and then you don’t want to talk to your friends and you’re just alone and you can’t focus on studying,” said fourth grader JayJay Graham.

“Bullying is not good, and you really shouldn’t do it to other people,” said third grader Ava Pirrello.

“You should always be grateful that maybe you weren’t bullied, and you should always be nice to people,” said fifth grader Jake Bennert.

The National Center for Education Statistics indicates in 2013 one out of every four students, or 22 percent of children ages 12 to 18, reported being bullied during the school year. McGrath hopes their video will resonate with students.

“They might just hear that song in their mind again and say, ‘Listen this is not a great thing to do. Let me step back and start over,'” she said.

A high school freshman wrote the lyrics and a senior shot and edited the three and half minute video.

Just about the entire school, or nearly 600 students in grades K-5, participated in the video. They shot scenes throughout the entire school. It took two weeks to complete, and then it another week to edit the video.

Third grader Anthony Pirrello is glad their video is getting so much attention.

“Helping other kids is a very big deal,” he said. “Because if you help kids it will make them better not bullying.”

North Dover Elementary School students and staffers are already thinking about next year’s music video. They’re not giving us any hints.