Songs and words of kindness, love and respect for one another formed a message sent Thursday evening by members of various Waxahachie ISD school choirs, drama clubs and the city’s mayor, Ron Wilkinson.

Opening the district’s celebration of Random Acts of Kindness Week was deputy superintendent David Truitt.

“This is a time to honor what it means to give random acts of kindness. These acts can make a difference in our schools and our community,” Truitt said. 

Before turning the stage over to Wilkinson, Truitt spoke about the issue of bullying. 

“Every day, 160,000 children miss school due to bullying,” he said, citing other statistics, as well.

“We are here to focus on kindness and goodness to one another. An act of kindness is a random act that is spontaneous,” Truitt said.

Wilkinson congratulated the school district on turning around the “lack of civility.” In recognizing the program, the mayor read a proclamation, declaring Jan. 26-29 as Random Acts of Kindness week.

The keynote speaker for the evening was Aaron Covey, an FBI outreach specialist from the Dallas Field Office, who presented a multi-media program warning parents and student about cyberbullying and cyberpredators.

“Keeping kids safe on the Internet” was the theme of Covey’s presentation, which informed parents that 71 percent of the teens online receive messages from someone they don’t know. Another 45 percent have been asked for personal information from someone they didn’t know.

Covey told the audience that child predators meet their targets through Wed sites such as MySpace and Facebook.

“The software is available on the Internet for a predator to find out everything about a child such a address, telephone numbers and age information,” Covey said.

Warning about the dangers and motives of such predators, Covey showed a video of a young girl who was sought out and met up with a predator. On the video, her mother told how her daughter and the family’s lives were changed as a result.

“He even told her how to commit suicide so she wouldn’t make a mess in the house. One evening, my husband and I came home and found her dead,” the mother said.

Covey concluded his presentation by saying, “Know where your child is surfing” and giving a list of 10 essential tips.

“Place your computer in a common area. Visit the sites your child is visiting. Take classes and get to know the Internet so you can discuss it with your child and teach your children the ‘Embarrassment Rule’ – Never post anything you wouldn’t want your parents to see” – were some of the tips Covey discussed.

The evening concluded with a joint performance of all three choirs on  hand for the event.