Mural with a message: Students take a stand against bullying

Kanoelani Elementary School Mural

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Hundreds of kids are taking a stand against bullying.

Students from Kanoelani Elementary School painted a mural — a symbol that bullying is not welcomed in their school.

“It kind of looks like you’re in a cave and looking out into the sunset,” first grader Sydnie Hirayama said.

The ocean-themed mural, painted by more than 700 students, is not just an ordinary painting.

“Our motto is, ‘We is greater than me’ and we’re just trying to combat bullying and make sure that everybody feels like it’s a place where they belong,” school principal Stacie Kunihisa said.

The children were each paired with another student and completed the mural Friday with their favorite sea creatures.

But they also got a little help from renowned local artists Wyland and Hilton Alves, who painted the background.

“Me and my buddy, we did a shark,” fourth grader Murphy Boksanskie said.

“Me and my buddy, we picked the sea turtle because we thought it was cool,” Hirayama said.

The paint buckets used were a symbol of the school’s “bucket-filler” program, which is an approach aimed at building community and taking a stance against bullying.

“Bucket filling is when you fill somebody’s bucket with a compliment and you can write bucket filler notes to people. And when they receive it, they sometimes can write back to you, too,” Hirayama said.

“Bucket filling is when you do something nice for someone,” Bokskanskie said. “Teach them to not bully or be mean.”

It’s a message that will be forever sketched on their cafeteria wall.

“The students know that it’s how we treat each other that matters the most, and understanding that people have values and opinions and we have to respect each other,” Kunihisa said.

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