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Teen's #PositivePostIt Campaign One-Ups School Bullies

Teen responds to school bullies with positive post-it note campaign
Photograph by Getty Images/Ingram Publishing

School bullies have been ruining high school for the rest of us since the dawn of time. But an Alberta, Canada, teen has come up with one rather crafty method of rendering their insults, taunts and all-round terribleness moot. And she does it in exactly the way your mother always told you to react: by fighting meanness with niceness.

Earlier this month, Caitlin Prater-Haacke began covering her high school in Post-It notes, writing uplifting messages to fellow students in an effort to spread positivity instead of negativity. "You're beautiful," some read. "Wow, you're gorgeous!" others declared. And some just said simply: "Love yourself."

The eleventh-grader's grassroots positivity campaign all started when she came back to her locker one day and discovered that it had broken into. But to her surprise, the culprits weren't even there to steal her stuff. Instead, they used her own iPad to log onto Facebook and leave a terrible status update telling her to die.

But rather than being reduced to a puddle of tears, Prater-Haacke started writing. Before long, she covered every single locker in her school—850 in all—in Post-It notes with happy messages.

Sounds like a pretty beautiful (and mature) response to your haters, right? Well, get this: Sadly, the administrators at George McDougall High School did not agree. Instead of being commended, Caitlin was actually reprimanded for her actions. According to her mom Nicole Haacke, the eleventh-grader was taken out of class and scolded by a teacher for "littering." (Seriously?)

What's most ironic—and terrible—about the school's reaction is that nothing was really ever done about the bullying that happened to Caitlin.

“I don’t understand that when my kid is bullied, nothing happens, but when she tries to do something positive, she is punished,” Nicole Haacke told the Airdrie Echo.

But for now, Caitlin isn't focusing on that—she's just continuing to spread her anti-bullying message in any way she can.

"The student body was really down about it and bullying affects everybody," Prater-Haacke recently told CTV News. "It really does. Whether it be one comment or one post or in person, it’s affecting everyone."

It certainly is. But even if George McDougall High isn't on Caitlin's side, the city of Airdrie, Canada, is. The small community declared last Thursday, October 9 "Positive Post-It Day"—which, by the looks of Twitter, left its residents on a 24-hour happiness high.

Oh, if only every day was Positive Post-It Day!

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