Teachers' message to young girls: You matter

Positive messages like the one above line the bathroom doors in the girls restroom at Lake Middle School. (WNWO/Marcus Espinoza)

School can be tough.

Especially for those entering a new milestone in their lives: Junior High.

"When they are in middle school they are like sponges and they will take in anything they hear and see so we want to make sure we are giving them positive messages and positive things to look up too," said Kaite Beard, Lake Middle School Principal.

That's when an idea came across the Facebook News Feed of Lake Middle School Intervention Specialist Sarah Hummel.

She saw a school in Alabama had placed messages of encouragement on the bathroom doors in the girls bathroom.

Hummel, along with Jenny Kirwen who is a 7th grade Language Arts teacher and Jackie Brough, a 7th grade Science teacher teamed up to implement the idea at Lake.

Messages such as: "She is far more precious than jewels" and "A smile is the best makeup you can wear" line the bathroom doors.

Kirwen says the bathroom for many girls can often be a place of retreat and these messages could provide an uplifting opportunity.

"The bathroom tends to be a place for girls where they go when something is happening...there's drama in the classroom or lunch so they come to the bathroom and maybe they'll see these messages and hopefully make them feel a little better," said Kirwen.

Principal Beard hopes the messages will create a pay-it-forward effect.

"I think that when they walk in there and maybe they were thinking about doing some graffiti in the bathroom, maybe seeing that positive message might make them think twice before doing something to the bathroom or doing something mean about somebody else," said Beard.

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