Local elementary schools implement anti-bullying programs

Published by adviser, Author: Stehpanie Cheek - Rocket Contributor, Date: February 3, 2013
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Bullying has been a prominent topic in the media in the past few years, but what is heard are the horrible outcomes. Slippery Rock Elementary School and many other schools in the district are trying to stop those outcomes with introducing the Bullying Prevention Program.
According to W. Herbert Basham, Slippery Rock and Har-Mer Elementary School’s principal, this Bullying Prevention Program is geared toward each individual age group and it focuses especially on the slogan, “Take a Stand, Lend a Hand, Stop Bullying.”
“There are a series of activities and each one focuses on a certain anti-bullying message,” Basham explained.
The activities are split up between kindergarten to second grade and the second curriculum is from grades three to five, according to Basham, and as the students move through the grades the material becomes more involved and in-depth. He said some of the activities involve puppet shows that are put on by the faculty and eventually the students themselves, as well as a word of the week that has to do with stopping bullying.
According to Basham, the schools even work together to send the message across. For example, the program is going to involve a fifth grade day where all the fifth grade students from throughout the district are brought together.
“The faculty meet frequently to see how they can improve the program and implement the bullying prevention program in as many areas as possible,” Ashleigh Wasson, elementary guidance counselor for Slippery Rock School District, said.
The three things that the program is trying to educate students about is how to identify what bullying is, how to properly report and handle bullying, and how to reduce bullying in their environment, Wasson said. According to Wasson, the students are also being taught that there are three different types of bullying – physical, verbal, and in a relationship – and how to handle each one.
This year’s bullying prevention program kicked-off on Oct. 29 with an assembly where the rules against bullying and the school’s definition of bullying was announced, with the help of the football team and coach to help send the message, according to Basham.
Along with the activities at school and in the classroom, a brochure was sent home so that parents can become involved in the program as well, explained Wasson. According to the brochure it helps parents figure out whether their child is being bullied and or bullying others, and what they can specifically do to help, like having an open conversation about bullying and even being an active participant in the program along with their child.
According to Wasson, Slippery Rock School District has implemented bullying prevention programs in all of its elementary schools, being Slippery Rock Elementary, Har-Mer Elementary and Moraine Elementary. The only difference, Wasson explained, is that Slippery Rock and Har-Mer Elementary work closer together, therefore they have implemented a program that is trying to follow the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, a program that Moraine Elementary is using for the second year.
According to the Violence Prevention Works website, Olweus Bullying Program is a school-wide anti-bullying campaign that is used in elementary, middle and high schools. It is a program that helps students recognize the signs of bullying, the consequences for bullying and in the end, improve the peer relations between students, according to the website.
Slippery Rock Elementary School has had a form of a bullying prevention program for the past three years, according to Principal Basham, and the students have always enjoyed and done well with the program. This year, the program that is being used is specifically called, “Stop Bullying Now,” according to Basham.
Even though this particular program only started in the beginning of the school year, all the students seem to enjoy and understand the bullying prevention program and are responding in a positive way, he explained.
“I walked into a third grade classroom, and the whole class began chanting, “Take a Stand Lend a Hand, Stop Bullying,” he said.

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