"Children should be able to live a life free from bullying and harassment and it is time that we all take a stand against this." Katherine Jenkins
This past month, groups and schools across the country have committed to stop bullying through efforts aimed at bringing awareness to this important issue facing our youth. This month serves as a reminder that bullying prevention must be addressed, and one way to accomplish this is through educating ourselves, our communities and the youth in our lives. Our goal at Union Community Schools is to create a positive school culture where all students are safe, supported, and have the opportunity to grow.
Students in the Union Community School District have been learning about bullying throughout the last month. Both the La Porte City Elementary and Dysart Elementary Schools use the same curriculum and teach lessons throughout September. Students learn the difference between being mean and being bullied (occurs repeatedly) as well as what bullying looks like. Elementary students also learn the four roles in the cycle of bullying and how to be an upstander (someone who stands up against a bullying situation) instead of a bystander (someone that witnesses bullying but does nothing about it). Lessons are presented through activities and videos.
The middle school is in its third year of participation in PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports). This program uses positive interaction and teaching rather than punitive interaction. In addition to teaching appropriate behaviors, teachers and bus drivers give "Got U"s to students who display appropriate behaviors. The "Got U"s can be used for a variety of special activities, from wearing a crown for a day, to watching a movie with friends during study hall, to challenging staff to a dodgeball game during PAL. PBIS promotes four areas of behavior: respect, responsibility, self-discipline, and pride. Instruction and programs promoting appropriate behavior are provided all year school-wide.
This October, the high school students and staff have been focusing on bystander behavior and what they can do to become an upstander as well as how they can be role models for our younger students. Through our advisory program, students have had the opportunity to watch video highlights from the documentary Bully, have discussion time with their peers, and will be creating public service announcements (PSAs) that will be hung through both elementary schools stressing the need to stop bullying in our buildings. And last January, the high school participated in No Name-Calling Week.
This year, all buildings in our district participated in National Unity Day which was a day for staff and students to show they care about students being bullied and that we all want to start making a change to end bullying in our schools. All students and staff had to do was wear orange. We had a great turnout of students in every building that wore orange to support the end to bullying.
Here are some tips of how parents and community members can help:
1.Talk to children about bullying including any of your own experiences and views.
2.Listen. Let children tell you what they see and experience around them.
3.Make sure children know who they can turn to for help whether it's for themselves or a friend.
4.Become active in the schools through the parent teacher association or within classroom/school activities.
5.Stay active in your communication with your child's teacher(s).
6.If you work with students through your church or community activities such as youth sport leagues, consider attending a training on bullying prevention.
7.Check out anti-bullying books from your local library to read together.
8.Stay aware of our school district's bullying and harassment policy.
9.Intervene immediately if you witness bullying.
Want to learn more or see videos on the matter? Two great sites to visit include StopBullying.gov and TheBullyProject.com.