Students at Indianapolis Public Schools Meredith Nicholson School 96 are smart in more ways than you think. SMART at Meredith Nicholson stands for Student Movement Against Rude Treatment. SMART is a student-created movement that focuses attention on upstanding positive behavior as a way to combat bullying.

Colleen Kliewer, social worker at Meredith Nicholson, says the group started seven years ago, and it has made being an “upstander,” a positive, good student, cool. Students now seek to be members of the group.

It is important that the group is student generated and that students want to join. “The kids need to buy into it, believe the whole concept. If they get excited about being an upstander, then they buy in. They become a model,” Kliewer said.

“We represent good behavior,” said one SMART 6th-grade boy. “We stand for honesty, fairness and politeness.”

Students drive the group activities as well:

  • One year, students with the help of an IPS alumnus designed and marketed their own SMART T-shirts.
  • This year one group of students is learning computer design with the art teacher and designed a logo.
  • Another group of fourth graders this year went to all of the kindergarten and 1st grade classes and gave bullying presentations. “It feels good to help other people resolve their conflicts,” said one student.

Dr. Cynthia Jackson, District Positive Discipline Coordinator for IPS, noted that the behavior focus for IPS is “on prevention and intervention as opposed to punishment.” Students showing students the way to be a positive influence on their schools is a big step in that direction. We’re proud of leaders like the SMART students of Meredith Nicholson.