Young anti-bullying advocate speaks up for her peers

3 mins read
15 year old anti-bullying advocate Valerianne Hinkley with her sticky note project.

FARMINGTON – When students at Mt. Blue High School arrived at school two weeks ago, they were greeted with hundreds of neon notes plastering the lockers and walls. Words of encouragement such as “you are talented,” and “love yourself,” were hand-scrawled on each of the 500 sticky notes, alongside more than 40 printed signs with uplifting phrases.

The project was organized by freshman Valerianne Hinkley, who was the subject of peer bullying several weeks beforehand.

“I just wanted to turn it into something positive. I know I’m not the only one who is bullied here. I thought other kids might like getting a nice message on their locker,” Hinkley said.

Hinkley said she overheard a group of people, mostly girls, talking about her in an unkind way. Girls who she thought were friends. When she tried talking to the group about what she had heard, they denied it. Hinkley also said she heard people laughing at her as she walked by, and was receiving nasty looks that she hadn’t been getting before.

Mt. Blue freshman Valerianne Hinkley hand wrote 500 sticky notes of encouragement to her peers in response to bullying.

“People told me to just block them on Facebook and it would all go away. But it really doesn’t. They still say things. They still find other ways to bully,” Hinkley said. “I had never been bullied before. Now I know how bad it feels.”

The young advocate is not stopping at post-it notes. She is currently in the process of organizing a visit from the Ridin’ Steel Bikers Against Bullying program. The motorcyclists travel the state presenting to schools about the ugly face of bullying, and ways to avoid getting caught up in it.

Finding adult role models was an important piece to Hinkley accomplishing her project. She not only sought support from the bikers, she was also backed up by one of her teachers at MBHS. When she noticed that some of her signs had been ripped down, the teacher requested they be replaced because another student had been asking where they were.

Hinkley said she plans on doing the post-it note project every year now.

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  1. Brave is my thought! Good for you Val…. Bullying is so cruel. And it is like a cancer that spreads through the whole body. Destroying in its path. Many are already bullied at home. Where is compassion and kindness. When did these traits become uncool?

  2. Wonderful job – I have loved reading your signs as I’ve been on campus this past week! I truly admire you for turning a negative personal experience into a positive message for everyone – it’s awesome! Thank you for sharing goodness with Mt. Blue and sending its ripple effects throughout our community – this us how we change hearts, and ultimately the world – courage, positivity, forgiveness, and love – thank you for being you!

  3. Valerianne Hinkley, good for you. “Mean girls” are alive and kicking, you will never regret being nice to your peers. Finding role models and asking for help, bringing their deplorable behavior to light, is a wonderful, brave way to face down the bullying.

  4. I am so proud to call this young lady my daughter. Valerianne, from a very young age you showed a kind and gentle spirit, often stepping up when others are hurting or needing a friend. All too often we see bullying in our lives, not just among children, but adults too. We see it in everyday life and some people never stop to think of the life long affects it has on others. Parents who talk negatively about other children in front of their own are bullying and passing on that kind of behavior, kids who stand by and watch other kids bully are sometimes enabling the bullying to keep doing. In the last couple years, we have watched you step in and stand up against kids being bullied, report peers you were worried about and smile through some tough tears. This community needs more advocates and support. Too bad you and the school couldn’t start a club to help get those positive posts going year round. Those handwritten post it notes were a lot to write as every single locker in the high school got one, classroom doors got them along with some office doors, the posters on the walls included bathroom mirrors and stall doors too.

    You are my inspiration and will always be my pride and joy! Keep being who you are!

    Love Mom

  5. So proud of you for standing up for what’s right. I too was bullied, on that very campus MANY years ago. I’ve learned that when you stand up to bullies, they usually back down, they don’t like noise aimed at them. Stand your ground, you will never regret it.

  6. good for you, stand tall and they will back off, their looks, whispers, and points will stop, and you will be the better person. The thing is, you are already a better person. These kids stand behind other kids, their phones, or their social network. In 10 years at a class reunion you will be the girl that stood up for herself as well as other, and will have accomplished goals that they made for you, you will be well on your way into a new found career and these kids will only be 10 years older. High school is hard enough, and in the end it does not matter who you dated,what table you sat at for lunch, who you hung out with or what kind of jeans you have on. You should be proud of yourself. I know its not easy. Being strong is hard. Being the person behind the points and whispers is the person that needs the most help.

  7. Riding Steel Bikers Against Bullying is a great organization. I do not belong, but know people that do. If you are going to have bikers come support students that is the way to go!

    Job well, done. I hope the girls reading this will learn something from you Val!

  8. Good for you! You are a brave girl! Self esteem classes for all students wouldn’t be a bad idea either. It would benefit them for the entire lives, both girls and boys.

  9. It only takes one person like you reaching out to change a life, Valerianne. Thank you for doing this and for standing tall. You are an inspiration to all of us.

  10. I hope everyone understands that what she did might have saved someones life

  11. Wow! Your story made my night. Thanks for standing up for bullying. I hope the middle and elementary schools use your example and have a positive post it day as well. Way to go!

  12. I’ve never met you, but you’re doing is what a real leader does. Thank you, Valerianne.

  13. Way to go Val! So very proud of what your doing. Bullying, unfortunately, happens at all ages and needs to be addressed. Keep up the good work!

  14. I hope the parents of Vals friends ask their children about the bullying and really talk to them if the child is a part of the bullying. It’s not a good feeling to be bullied. Stop and think how you would feel if you were one against ten, twenty, or fifty. Great job Val! I can see why your mom is so proud of you. Stand up and put names behind those words if need be. Bullying must stop.

  15. THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR YOUR WORDS OF SUPPORT AND KINDNESS! To Wendy: I don’t mention their names because I don’t want them bullied by others. To Farmington Mom: I’d love to see a post it day at all our schools whether by teachers or students. To Crazy Man: I hope I did save someone because we all are important. I know because of my support system I did not go down a dark path.
    I do hope those involved learn someday that they lost a good friend by glaring, snickering, talking about me, getting our other friends involved in taking sides, snap chatting about me, laughing at me as I ran crying. It wasn’t easy because I am an emotional person by nature and it could have been a lot worse kind of bullying but in my eyes bullying is many things. In their eyes bullying is the stereotype calling names.
    Support Systems are very important. I am lucky to have my parents there for me and that they raised me to believe in everything and everyone of my peers, that both adults and kids should be kind and not bully. I am thankful to have had the teachers I had all through schooling so far teach me well and show me the kindness we all deserve. And my high school guidance counselor Julie has been a big supporter.

    I would like to give a big Thank You to Dakota Mumma who helped me both days to hang posters and sticky notes and to Sylvia & Cindy Williamson for their help hanging sticky notes & replacing the section someone took down as we were doing another wing. Also to my mom who helped printing, writing and posting after work.


  16. Making Facebook Illegal would be a big help,,
    And Twitter,,,
    And All Social Media.

    Get Real and deal with people face to face.
    That would help.

  17. Social Media plays a huge part in why people can not communicate anymore. Unfortunately, social media is not going anywhere. As the article points out, the bullying kept going even before and after social media.

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