By Paula Ebben


SHREWSBURY (CBS) – It’s happening in schools and on social media, a public awareness and prevention campaign, with the goal of teaching about healthy relationships. It’s called the RESPECTfully campaign, the first effort by state government aimed at young people in 20 years. And we can all benefit from the message.

“One of the things I think is really hard at this age is, the pressures start to change,” said Massachusetts Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, the head of RESPECTfully.

On Friday, she brought that effort to the Oak Middle School in her hometown of Shrewsbury. “We feel it’s really important to help youth to develop social skills, to help them be happy and productive people of our community,” she said.

The goal is to help young people develop healthy relationships, a message that’s easy to say, but extremely hard to live. “Addressing some of the things that can be unhealthy in a friendship like name calling, drama that can lead to bullying,” Polito said.

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito (center) with students at Oak Middle School in Shrewsbury (WBZ-TV)

The key to the campaign is a series of short, social media videos demonstrating healthy and unhealthy behaviors between friends. “It’s getting people to develop healthy relationships, which overall makes the world a better place,” says seventh grader Abby Pace.

This being Valentine’s Day the students made a giant heart with positive messages. “Just so people know other people care about them and they’re appreciated at school,” says Emma Keeley an eighth grader.

Since the RESPECTfully campaign launched last May, the videos have received about a million views. And by the way, Lt. Governor Polito has a daughter at this school.

Paula Ebben

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