DeMario keeps it simple: Be kind in anti-bullying campaign

DeMario Harrington with his third-grade teacher, Allison Owens. Both are wearing t-shirts that DeMario designed.

RANTOUL — DeMario Harrington gave a resounding, “Yeah!” when asked if he would like to be an artist when he grows up.

But for a living, the Northview Elementary third-grader “wants to arrest people for stealing the bank.”

Harrington had a simple but heart-of-the-matter drawing that was selected as artwork for a t-shirt at the school that supports anti-bullying. The artwork has caught on around Rantoul and beyond.

The t-shirt features the words “be kind” under his drawing of Auggie from “Wonder,” a movie from a book about a boy with facial deformities.

DeMario said he likes to draw in his spare time.

“I draw all the colors,” he said, “and blue’s my favorite so I get to put blue on it.”

Allison Owens, DeMario’s teacher, said the idea for the art work began when another teacher at the school put out a challenge for the teachers. Owens had her students draw what they would like to see on a t-shirt.

“I have a machine at home that can make actual t-shirts,” Owens said. “I said, ‘If it’s cool enough I can turn it into real t-shirts.’”

She looked at the drawings without knowing which students drew them and selected DeMario’s.

“I thought that was awesome,” she said of the drawing. “It said ‘be kind.’ It was just very simple. If everybody is kind to somebody else, it can change the world.”

The art work was posted on Facebook and — in Owens’ words — kind of blew up.

More than 70 orders have been placed, and more are likely as the deadline has been extended to Nov. 22.

Owens said the orders aren’t all from Rantoul. Some have been received from Michigan (from her first- and second-grade teacher), as well as Fisher, Memphis, Paris, Ill., Mahomet, Urbana, Danville, Franklin, Tenn., and Columbia, Mo.

“I just never anticipated this thing blowing up this big,” she said.

Part of the proceeds from the t-shirt sales will go toward Northview Elementary, and part will go to Shop With a Cop.

DeMario said he created the drawing because “I liked it, and I think it was cool.”