SILVER CREEK - Overwhelmingly, schools are safe and nurturing places for students. Principals, classroom teachers, and faculty are dedicated to making sure schools remain safe learning environments for all students.
However, bullying is a serious issue that every school faces. Nationwide, research shows that more than half of all school-aged children will be involved in bullying this year as a victim or a perpetrator with many more witnessing bullying acts on a regular basis.
The month of October is Bullying Prevention Month, sponsored by the PACER Center, a parent center for families of children and young adults with disabilities, and cosponsored by NEA, the National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education, and National PTA. It encourages communities to work together to increase awareness of the prevalence and impact of bullying on children.
Top: Silver Creek middle and high school students wore orange for Unity Day. Pictured are Natural Helpers, a club that organized some of the anti-bullying activities throughout the month, (front row) Hannah Hoffman and Katelyn Whitford, (back row) Katelyn Plecker, Jeff Lamparelli, Gena Eberhardt, and Megan Stoll.
Silver Creek Central School's pupil personnel team (social workers, school counselors, and school psychologists) took this opportunity to prepare activities designed to raise awareness of bullying prevention.
Some of the activities have included information shared during morning announcements, classroom discussions and participation in Unity Day on Oct. 12.
"This is a day on which everyone can unite against bullying and send a message of support to students who have experienced bullying by wearing the color orange. On this day students district wide also signed an anti-bullying pledge," Middle School Social Worker Beth Miller explained in an email.
The next day orange bracelets were passed out to students and faculty to wear to show their ongoing commitment to honor the pledge signed on Unity Day.
By signing the pledge students promised to respect others, not engage in bullying, report it if they see it, support those who are bullied and be a role model for others. The pledges were strung up in a chain in the hall on Unity Day.
"Throughout the month we also took time to recognize the positive actions of our students that often go unnoticed. Students who were 'caught' by their teachers demonstrating acts of kindness were entered into a weekly drawing for the opportunity to win prizes," Miller added.
At the beginning of the month, parents were given information on anti-bullying events and tips on how to talk to their children about bullying.
"Bullying should not be seen as 'kids being kids' or something that students just need to deal with. Having a safe school experience is something that all students should be able to enjoy. We look forward to partnering with you to make certain our schools are that kind of place," the letter said.
For more information on bullying or Unity Day go to www.pacer.org/bullying.
Comments on this article may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org