October was National Bullying Prevention Month. I connected with PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center through social media. They asked us to post a picture in support of their We Will Gen Campaign. (Our school also encouraged the students to wear orange in solidarity of bullying prevention.) It is a program designed to inspire student-to-student engagement to lead the bullying prevention movement. They have many websites dedicated to bullying awareness and prevention for kids, teens, parents and educators. I highlyrecommend visiting their pages, as they contain a wealth of information.
Our Samaritans365 Club also aims to inspire students to lead bullying prevention. We recently welcomed a speaker from the ADL to our monthly meeting. The ADL stands for the Anti-Defamation League. It is the nation’s premier civil rights/human relations agency. Tracey Grossman, an ADL volunteer and a dear friend of mine, trained our club members how to “Be an Ally”.
She started off with an interactive activity where she called out certain statements and if it applied to the child, then they would stand up. They were statements such as, “I have a sibling”, “I was born in Florida”, etc. The children processed the meaning behind the activity after. Some of their responses were, “I felt unique” or “I felt lonely”, when they were the only ones standing. When a large group was standing, the responses ranged from, “I felt like I have things in common with others”, to “I felt like just another face in the crowd”.
This activity was to show the students that even though they were in the same situation, they perceived it differently. Two people can engage in the same activity, but our thoughts and feelings about it, make it a unique experience to us. We established ground rules to always treat others with respect and kindness. We told the students that as Samaritan’s Club members, they are Kindness Leaders in our Elementary School.
She went on to define the 4 roles in bullying:
We discussed what each of those roles meant and shared experiences of being in those roles. I was very impressed with the children’s honesty and openness. I believe, as a parent, it’s an important discussion to have, not only during a bullying situation, but also beforehand in case it ever arises.
We spent the rest of the hour discussing ADL’s 6 strategies to being an Ally.
We concluded our meeting with a drawing activity where the students drew pictures of what their school would like if it were filled only with kindness.
If you are a target, there are people who can help and actions you can take to make things better.
“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
Click here for more information on bullying and cyber bullying prevention strategies.