Medina teacher, students 'throw kindness around like confetti'

Her lesson was built on the foundation of reaching out to others with kindness.

A Medina teacher’s simple lesson on thoughtfulness began with a piece of paper, a paper bag and a few kind words.

Dana Laplant, a Buckeye High School English teacher, started to notice a few students struggling in class and others who are struggling at home.

"You look at them everyday and sometimes you see the sadness in their eyes," Laplant said. "And you don’t know what’s behind it."

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Laplant named one recent encounter that left a lasting impression on her.

"I had a recent girl crying in the hallway and I asked her what’s going on, and she said my mom had breast cancer," Laplant said. "What do you say to that?"

It was the stories of hardships --- and even the recent news of a tragic Florida high school shooting that hit close to home for students across the country that led to Laplant's classroom lesson on Friday.

"I just noticed some negativity and I wanted to turn that around."

Her lesson was titled, “Throw kindness around like confetti.”

"The premise behind it is that each student would get a list of their peers in the class and they would write a positive comment or how they perceive them."

Each note could be anonymous. Each included a positive message or compliment. Each comment was put into individual bags that would be returned to the students.

"[One student] told his mom that somebody said he was the perfect gentleman."

It was an activity that proved to be more powerful than Laplant imagined.

"I had another student who was crying in the corner when he was opening his compliments..." Laplant said. "He said ‘I’m just so flattered that they think this of me. I didn’t think they noticed me.’"

Laplant's lesson was built on the foundation of reaching out to others with kindness, whether that's with a smile or a handwritten compliment in a brown paper bag.

"That might be the step that they need to get help, or to talk to someone or maybe that will help to save their life or the lives of others."

Laplant said it has become a lesson worth repeating.