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Pleasantville Schools Find Inspiration In 'Man In Red Bandana'

Welles Crowther
Welles Crowther Photo Credit: File

Pleasantville Union Free School District students have become inspired by the story of the man in the red bandana.

Green bandanas have been popping up all over Pleasantville after they heard the story of Welles Crowther, a Suffern resident, who died on Sept. 11, escorting people to safety.  His story became famous when people talked about a man with a red bandana who escorted them to safety despite the chaos around them.

Crowther always carried a red bandana in his back pocket; his father Jefferson usually had a blue one. His remains were later discovered at Ground Zero in March 2002.

Pleasantville administrators invited Crowther's mother to tell her son's story and students instantly responded. Green bandanas, the color of Pleasantville, were given to students and teachers.

At Bedford Road School, the bandanas were part of the school's fill a bucket program. At BRS, the K-4 students were taught every time you do something nice to someone, you fill your bucket and fill their bucket full of happy feelings. Being mean or disrespectful dips into someone's bucket.

"We all do the best we can to be bucket fillers," John Morash, assistant principal at Bedford Road School said. "It's the vocabulary we use in the classrooms, hallways, and cafeteria."

Morash said the green bandanas remind people to be kind and helpful to other people.

"It teaches students a message of how you can make a difference both big and small," Morash said.

Green bandanas have been used in classroom activities. In gym class, students were blindfolded with a green bandana and had another student lead them through an obstacle course. 

Morash said if a student is asked about their bandana while they're wearing it around Pleasantville, they can help spread the message.

"It's sparked a conversation," Morash said. "One small act can change a life."

At Pleasantville Middle School, bandanas have become the must-have fashion accessory. Principal Donald Marra said the bandanas have become part of their character education program.

"We talked to students about the rules he lived by," Mara said. "He was a wonderful selfless human being. He was an upstander."

Marra said everyone in the building has one and they use it for various things, from putting it on a bulletin board to putting in their hair.

"It's a constant reminder of what he represented," Marra said. "One individual can make a difference. We want you to be the difference."

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