By Mike Pearson, News staff
You’re a student walking through the halls of your high school after hours. As you turn a corner, you witness a student viciously beating a classmate. No one else is watching.
Do you call for help? Or should you just walk away?
That’s the scenario that plays out in an award-winning student video honoured by Hamilton Crimestoppers and Hamilton Police Service during the annual Safe Schools secondary school video contest.
Ancaster High School students Fawad Ahmed, 17, Steven Zhang, 16, Vivian Dao, 14 and Avian Yuen, 16, were awarded first place for their short video, titled Doubt.
In the video, the male student who witnesses the violent act considers calling for help, but is frozen by doubt. The bystander dials the number for Crimestoppers, but hesitates before completing the call. He never presses send and decides to walk away.
Then, in another scene, the bystander is shocked to find a newspaper obituary article about the bullied student.
Fawad, who spent more than 11 hours editing the short video, said that while bullying isn’t a major issue at Ancaster High, incidents can occur after school hours, when few people are present.
“It’s often witnessed by accident,” he said.
Fawad, who is also president of the school’s video club, was inspired by former student Alex Fensham, a past president of the video club who has since graduated.
Filming was conducted by Steven and Vivian, with a storyboard by Avian.
The school received a $500 prize which can be used to purchase editing equipment or a new laptop for the video club.
Students from Hill Park Secondary School received second prize for their video, titled The Right Call. The video touches upon issues of bullying, drugs, auto theft and “sexting”, which is the practice of sending sexually explicit images, often for purposes of blackmail.
The Hill Park students, who were unable to attend the Feb. 21 awards presentation, receive $300 for their school.
Ashley Ciona and Macey Faith, Grade 10 students at Waterdown District High School, received third place for their video, called Guardian Angel. They received a $200 prize.
The Waterdown video encourages students to be a guardian angel by reporting acts of crime, bullying or violence to Crimestoppers.
Hamilton police Const. Debbie McGreal-Dinning, a former Crimestoppers media coordinator, said that while Crimestoppers is not the place to report a crime in progress, all tips remain anonymous.
The Safe Schools video contest received 22 entries this year, up from 13 in 2011.
Watch the videos here: