PTSA and staff members at Randall Middle School empowered students against bullying by making and distributing hats as part of the Hat Not Hate program.

The Randall Middle School PTSA found a unique way to talk to students about bullying last month. Members of the PTSA board worked with AR Workshop and Lion Brand to make hats that were given to students as part of the national Hat Not Hate campaign.

“The Randall PTSA was thrilled to join AR Workshop for the Hat Not Hate initiative,” said PTSA President Jennifer Collis.

Board members gathered at AR Workshop in Brandon and made the hats, which were purchased by AR Workshop Owner Stephanie Paxton.

“For me, being a mother of three, this was such a good program to sign up to be involved with,” said Paxton. “I was teased constantly while growing up because of my height and I know now that it is so much harder for kids with social media, they really never get a break. I have never understood how kids or adults can be cruel to each other. I love this program and the message it sends out. We all could use a little less hate in this world.”

The hats were later taken to the school on Hat Spirit Day and students were able to hear the meaning behind the program: empowerment against bullies.

“Anti-bullying awareness is such an important message to be spread to every middle schooler,” said Collis. “This was a great way for our board members and school leaders to join together to show some support and positivity to our students.”

Staff members also wore the hats, spreading the message of strength to the students.

The event prompted a group of National Junior Honor Society students to set up their own socially distanced hat-making session.

“We hope this becomes an annual program at Randall,” said Collis.

To learn more about Hat Not Hate, visit www.hatnothate.org.

AR Workshop Brandon is located at 1046 Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico and can be reached at 775-7109. To learn more, visit www.arworkshop.com.