Facebook page lets OPRF build up with compliments

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By Terry Dean

Staff reporter

You won't find any bullying or name-calling on this Facebook page.

The only thing you'll find on this OPRF site is one posting after another from friends and strangers complimenting others.

The OPRF Compliments page has been up since January. Its creator has remained anonymous but since January, there have been dozens and dozens of posts.

"Winter is cold but that doesn't mean your heart has to be," writes the creator in the intro to the page. "OPRF Compliments is a way to show your appreciation, admiration, and support for other members of the OPRF community."

Posters can send their compliment request to the creator and later have it posted. They can do so anonymously or not, and you must be a student at Oak Park and River Forest High School to post.

Profane messages and insults won't make their way to the page, the creator says.

The page is generating talk at the high school among students and adults, says Karin Sullivan, OPRF's director of communications and community relations.

"I learned about the page shortly after it launched, via a parent whose daughter was talking about it. The students were really buzzing about it after it launched, and as the adults have learned about it, they have been really pleased to see such a positive movement take off," said Sullivan.

Compliments range from the very sweet to the somewhat humorous; from how good a dancer someone is to how good they are in sports. And others just compliment looks.

Student Miriam Sally was complimented on her appearance and personality: "You're so pretty and funny and I love your hair!!!" wrote one poster. Student Graham Deamer was complimented for being "the nicest and cutest sophomore." And what high school guy wouldn't want to be a "teenage girl's dream guy," as one poster wrote to student Elliot Stern.

A recent post gave student Allie Kennedy a unique compliment: "Baby, you a song that makes me wanna roll my windows down and cruiseeeeee!"

Students receiving compliments can respond with a thank you or compliment of their own.

OPRF's page is following a trend at high schools and colleges around the country and in Canada. These "reverse-bullying" social networking pages have been sprouting up since last year. Instead of hurtful criticisms against someone, these sites look to spread some good feeling around.

And while cyber-bullying remains a major problem for a lot of kids, some students at OPRF aren't affected by it that much, according to a recent climate survey, part of the school's strategic planning process.

Of the 346 students who responded to last fall's survey, more than 70 percent said cyber-bulling was not a problem for them at the high school. Just over 50 percent felt satisfied with the school's effort to educate students about preventing bullying. Students, adults and experts maintain that cyber-bullying, as well as text-bullying, still needs to be combated.

Reverse-bullying may be one way to do that.

"This actually made my day, THANKS SO MUCH to whoever wrote it," responded student Emma Fojtik to person who thinks she's "the closest anyone could come to perfect."

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