Kindergarten through fourth-grade students at North Side Elementary School have a simple message this week — don’t be a bully.
They’re not only learning that message, but they’re also trying to spread as part of Anti-Bullying Week.
“Bullying happens everyday. It happens outside, it happens inside, it can happen almost anywhere,” said 8-year-old third-grader Brit Duggan. “What we’re doing is we’re creating posters to help stop bullies.” Each classroom made a poster to promote a stop to bullying, he said, and there was a winner for each grade.
Linda Robinson, school guidance counselor, said there are activities all week to help kids learn what bullying is and how to avoid it.
On Tuesday, students gathered in the grassy field beside the school and formed a large heart. Robinson said it was to show a message of love.
“This is to teach the students how together we can have a safe school climate. All students learn the true definition of bullying and our school Anti-Bullying rules,” Robinson said. “They learn how to be caring bystanders and how to seek help for themselves or others.”
Fourth-grader Chase Poarch said that’s been the message from teachers this week.
“We have learned that bullying is not fair and no one should be bullied or bully other kids. We also learned that it’s never fair to bully and when you’re being bullied it never feels good because your feelings get hurt or they might get hurt,” Poarch said.
Poarch, Duggan and Jackson Thornton, a kindergartener, all said bullying is wrong and if they see it happen, they tell an adult.
Robinson said a bully-free educational environment is key to a child being able to focus and learn.
“Research shows that students learn more when they feel safe and love to come to school. Our program is a community based program so this week has given everyone an opportunity to support our efforts to have a bully free school,” she said.
Activities for the week include? “Stomp Out Bullying” where students wore boots or mismatched shoes, Tuesday’s “Peaceful Place” message, today students will wear their favorite sports team shirt for “Be a Team Player and Stand Up to Bullying,” Thursday’s program is “Be a Buddy, not a Bully,” and younger students are paired up with an older student and the two will dress alike and on Friday theme is “North Side is a Safe Place to be Yourself” and students can dress in unusual or fun clothes to show their interests.
Students also wrote their names on an anti-bullying pledge poster that will be displayed at the school all year.