The four-year-old was bullied at school over his homemade posters and is in danger of losing his temper. So his mother, Frida, took to the internet to spread the word, promoting the hashtag #NameTheRatParty
Why you should join Ollie and his #NameTheRatParty
Ollie Toderovitz may be a four-year-old boy but he knows the meaning of activism.
Ollie was cornered into a classroom at school after he made a poster with a picture of a cockroach.
Ollie’s teacher sent the four-year-old to recess after finding the rat-branded graphics.
Ollie’s mother, Frida, 34, posted a picture of the rat to Facebook and began a public campaign to raise awareness about discrimination against her son and others.
She has called the students who heckled Ollie “pigs” and posted photos of themselves under the hashtag #NameTheRatParty.
Ollie’s blog, Little Red Eared Rat, has been inundated with positive comments from people who recognize their situations too.
Now, Ollie is angry, frustrated and deeply hurt. So Frida is not going to sit idly by, urging people to donate to the rat house and urging people to not abuse Ollie again.
Frida has launched a bid to start a new animal campaign – a fish house – to raise awareness of pesticide pollution and that many local schools allow teachers to place spiders in their classrooms to teach children about their environment.
She said: “Unfortunately in modern society children can face bullying and discrimination just because of their appearance. I have worked tirelessly with staff and school staff to set up a website to raise awareness of this issue. I have encouraged him to ‘take a stand’ for his fellow classmates and will continue to support him all the way.
“He knows that what he has done is very special and is proud that he started the campaign. However he is now very angry. He thinks this incident has triggered an uncontrolled spasm of emotion and he will most likely become more aggressive as the days go by. I’m not going to let him lose his temper either as this will likely bring a violent response from him.”
Ollie attends Lucy Pond Primary in Oakley, in the Czech Republic. Staff said it was a private school but declined to comment further.
Lucia Nikolova, of StopPesticides.org, said: “At our scale this is a one-of-a-kind campaign. I’ve never seen children so involved in a cause. Ollie’s campaign is really inspirational. It’s tremendous to see how much an individual can influence awareness of the dangers of pesticide pollution. It’s incredible how a small child can make such a huge difference.”
A picture showing how Ollie’s poster was confiscated from his classroom. Photograph: Facebook
Ollie still attends the same primary school and is planning to go on the same trip next year.
Ollie has told his mother: “You guys can take me home or you can go away”, and his mother said she is taking him home as a “protection”.
She is a member of a charity called ChildServ that’s campaigning for schools in the Czech Republic to introduce rat-free policies.
Frida said: “The fact that Ollie has created an image which he believes will change the world and bring cheer to children around the world makes his story truly remarkable. I will continue to teach him right from wrong and love him no matter what, but I will give up the ghost that he must be wrong as the end of the world is on the horizon!”
* Ollie has previously been published as Ollie Roth in ads for a restaurant called Hibachi O Restaurant. We asked the founder of the restaurant whether his company would do away with the four-year-old’s name if someone tried to trademark it. He said no and the restaurant uses Ollie Roth as its brand name for its website, Facebook and Instagram.