CMS middle school embraces Kony 2012 campaign

CMS middle school embraces Kony 2012 campaign


by ANN SHERIDAN / NewsChannel 36 Staff

Bio | Email | Follow: @SheridanWCNC

Posted on March 13, 2012 at 5:44 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 13 at 6:01 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. --  Students at James Martin Middle School got a civics lesson fueled by social media.  The group Invisible Children visited the Charlotte campus to raise awareness about Lord's Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony's atrocities in Africa.

In the past two weeks, Invisible Children's film  Kony 2012 has gained global attention calling for action against Kony, who heads an army of child soldiers in Central Africa.

"I cried," said student DeAsia Little after watching the film. 

Little and other students at James Martin Middle School made posters,  bought bracelets and t-shirts from Invisible Children and are forming groups to raise money for the cause.

But Invisible Children is coming under scrutiny.  On Monday, the National Better Business Bureau questioned the group's fundraising efforts.  The BBB says the group "has failed to respond to 18 requests from the BBB over the past six years for information about its governance, effectiveness, finances and fundraising."

"There's the BBB and there's the message," said James Martin Middle School Principal Ayinde Rudolph.

Rudolph agreed to allow Invisible Children present its video before the BBB controversy.  

"We want to make sure our kids are aware," he said.  The students at James Martin have studied Africa and read the book, Long Way Gone about child soldiers in Central Africa. 

"They now have the opportunity to see how it impacted people.  That's our message," said Rudolph.

CMS does allow groups like Invisible Children to come into schools and host assemblies. A spokesperson for CMS says the decision to get involved is made on a case-by-case basis. 

Rudolph says he supports the spirit of Kony 2012 and believes the message trumps the fundraising controversy.

"It moved me," said Iliana Benitez.  Benitez and her classmates plan to get more involved in the Invisible Children movement.  She's hoping her group will create its own Invisible Children t-shirt, sell it and send the money to Africa. 

"This inspired me to help out," she said.

Parents were informed the group would be on campus through Facebook and Twitter. 

Invisible Children says it will not change its fundraising efforts and is now encouraging people to ask questions directly by tweeting with the group's CEO through its website.