Just one year ago, I found myself (an adult, at least theoretically) being chastised for also organizing a Random Acts of Kindness campaign in the workplace. My only mistake was in assuming my supervisor bothered to read the monthly report he asked for me to prepare in detail about my monthly goals. Although the campaign was clearly identified on this plan, which we also reviewed in person monthly, I was chastised harshly when I put up the posters advertising kindness quotes around our facility. Not only was I reprimanded for hanging the posters and told to immediately remove them, I was told that our CEO was irate with me and I was not to speak with him. To this day, I remain appalled at the situation. Perhaps this is the real source of my angst regarding the similar incident between a high school student and a school board member.
Or perhaps my angst (and the angst of other outraged community members) is justified. In a world of zero tolerance and school shootings, shouldn't we encourage our young people to do good? Whether the good is organized formally or done informally, it's still good. The school board member's apology was half-hearted and focused blame for the initial response on the anonymous nature of the campaign, but isn't an anonymous campaign during Random Acts of Kindness Week exactly what the week is supposed to be about? This student, who had the blessing of the school administration and other school board members, implemented this campaign not for the accolades he or she rightfully deserved, but instead for altruistic reasons. The nerve!
I don't know the student involved in this incident, but I do wish to offer him or her a few words of encouragement: Continue to "be the change" you wish to see in this world, as Mahatma Gandhi would say. Stand up for what is right, even when it's tough. Keep helping others, and don't let anyone make you feel bad about encouraging your peers to also help their own friends and neighbors. This world could use a little more love and a little less criticism.
Any other words of advice for this student? I would love to hear from other professional "do-gooders" on this topic!