Britnee Akau was bullied as a youngster.
She has come back to battle bullying.
A sophomore boarding student at the Kamehameha Schools-Kapalama, Akau adopted “Building Respect and Values for Everyone,” the official national platform and anti-bullying campaign of the Miss High School, the Miss Jr. High, and Collegiate America organization.
“It’s OK to dislike someone for a reason, or no reason at all,” Akau said in an email. “But it’s not OK to disrespect, degrade, and humiliate that person, nor is it OK to gossip and tell others to not like that person, too.”
At the start of the year, Akau started a community service project focused on bullying.
“Taking a Stand Against Bullying Through Literacy,” the title of her project, allowed her to gift students in the second grade at the Elsie Wilcox Elementary School with a book about bullying through a fundraising effort which was helped through online contributions.
Akau visited second grade students, about 140 students, on Aug. 4 to create awareness and to promote a bully-free and safe environment. She shared her personal story about being bullied and spoke about bullying getting the children to recite and sign the BRAVE pledge poster which hang in the classroom as a reminder of their pledge.
Last week, Wilcox Elementary School second graders received the books promised by Akau on her visit, the result of a successful Gift of Aloha book drive.
“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” Akau said. “Don’t write it in text, or on the Internet, or on social media. If it’s mean, it’s hurtful. Deliberately hurting someone is bullying, and bullying behavior exhibited, even once, is bullying.”