Q: When did C-Squared start?
A: It started 13 years ago at Leander High School. It started as No Place for Hate, with the anti-bullying thing, it has kind of grown since then.
Q: What does C-Squared mean?
A: It stands for a culture of caring, and rather than being just anti-bullying. It’s mainly about fostering an inclusive school environment, positivity, diversity, supporting people’s differences, but ultimately about students. It is about creating a kind environment, and a safe environment.
Q: What are you hoping to accomplish and achieve?
A: The main goal of C-Squared is the anti-bullying message. We talk about that in C-Squared often. From what I’ve seen, people have negative experiences of high school. If you ask people my age about their high school experience, it is often negative, and their experiences were not about the classes, or their teachers, or the academic part of high school, it was all about the social parts of high school. What we’re trying to create, is a safe, fun environment that helps create more positive social interactions so when students leave the school, they’ll be thinking positively about their experience, and about school in general. I think that is the ultimate goal of C-Squared.
Q: What are you teaching in C-Squared as of the recent meetings?
A: We started with the definition of bullying, and what it is and is not, because of the common misconceptions about bullying. We’ve also looked at the roles of bullying, there is the bully, the victim, and the bystander. As a bystander, rather than just acting after the fact, we teach how to handle bullying in the moment, and how to respond to a bully in a positive manner instead of negative. It is a sort of a take on “killing with kindness.” If you get upset, then the bully wins, if you respond positively, you take away their power.
Q: Where does the name come from?
A: It stands for “Culture of Caring,” and because I’m a math teacher, there is a lot of common misconceptions at this school that it’s a math club. It definitely isn’t.
Q: How can people join the club?
A: Unlike other clubs like student council and National Honors Society, we don’t have an application process. Which relates to our message, that you don’t have to apply if you want to help provide a more positive school environment, you are welcome to be part of the club. So students can just come to a C-Squared meeting. We have them the second and fourth Friday of every month, you can show up. We meet in Ranger Time.
Q: Is there anything you have done to address the issues at hand, like the yarn project?
A: The yarn project is one, it is called the Unity Circle, it is 20 poles in a circle with one pole in the middle that says, “I’m human.” The poles around it all have different identifiers [or] statements, and students chose [the ones] that apply to them. They start at the middle pole, “I am human,” and tie the yarn to everything that applies to them. [The project] started at about 20 pieces of yarn and [the layers] get thicker and thicker as the day goes on. It is up for five days and hopefully, after five days it will represent that even though we are all individual, there are things we have in common, and we are all human, and that differences are normal.
Q: Do you have any phrases that you teach?
A: We always say, “be there and be squared, believe in the change you want to see, or be the change you want to see in the world.”