By Jayne Wells
Effectively addressing bully prevention in a school requires help from everyone in the community. The Harmony School District, with help from many businesses, is actively taking a stand against bully behavior. If you visit the Harmony Elementary School you will see posters in every hall and most classrooms with bully prevention rules. “Don’t Bully Me!” has become a theme for the Harmony Elementary School as everyone there has united to take a stand against bully behavior. In the fall of 2011, the staff attended four training sessions and formed a coordinating committee. This committee came up with four rules to help students know what to do when they experience bully behavior in any way. The committee then prepared an assembly for the elementary where students wrote and performed a song to help explain how to help both bullies and targets of bullying. Teachers made it even more fun by joining the performance. Weekly class meetings were then started where students learn the difference between conflict and bully behavior. They also have a chance to role play how to respond when there is bullying.
Creating a school where bully behavior is not accepted and where students help instead of hurting others takes time. The junior and senior high school staff at Harmony has been working on that climate. They will be involved in training in January to become even more aware of how to recognize bullying and how to effectively respond. The goal is to help the bully, the bullied, and the bystanders, since all groups suffer from bully behavior.
If you would like more information about the program used in the Harmony Schools, go to www.stopbullyingnow.hrsa.gov . Harmony administrators and staff are working hard to insure this school is a place where all students feel safe and ready to learn. The SAFE coalition is working in cooperation with the schools on the bullying prevention project; for more information on this or any other coalition activity you may contact the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find information on coalition activities at www.vbsafecoalition.com, on the coalition blog at http://vbsafecoalition.blogspot.com, or on the coalition Facebook page Van Buren County SAFE Coalition