Beth Fertig is the contributing editor for education, covering the New York City public school system for WNYC on air and online at SchoolBook.org. She has covered education in the city for more than 15 ...
A 'Mean' Message From the P.S. 176 Chorus
Friday, May 04, 2012 - 03:19 PM
Bullying has been on the minds of a lot of teachers and students lately, partly because of the release of the new documentary "Bully," as well as the City Department of Education's Respect for All curriculum.
The topic influenced Robert Steel, a music teacher at Public School 176 Ovington in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. This spring he chose the Taylor Swift song "Mean" for his students to perform because of its message.
Listen below to the chorus singing the song.
"I liked it because it was an antibullying song," Mr. Steel said. "I knew the kids would be familiar with it because a lot of them are Taylor Swift fans, but I wasn't sure how it was going to go over. But they loved it right off the bat."
The song includes these lyrics:
Someday I'll be living in a big old city
And all you're ever gonna be is mean
Several hands shot up when members of the chorus were asked if they had ever witnessed bullying or experienced it personally. It was hard to get them to talk too much about personal experiences in front of their schoolmates. But they still felt a strong connection to the song.
Listen below to what the kids had to say about bullying. You will hear the voices of Kelly Chan, 10, fourth grade; Julia Hart, 10, fourth grade; Adam Elsayed, 10, fifth grade; and Tyler Baez, 10, third grade.