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11-7-18 — Regency Place Students Proud to be Bully Free

Nov. 7, 2018 ~ National Bullying Prevention Month was in October, but students at Regency Place Elementary School take an anti-bullying stance every day. Their teachers, principal and support staff find various ways to promote kindness, the power of bystanders, and how to deal with bullying.

“It's always challenging to come up with new things to motivate students and staff when it comes to bullying,” Principal Greg Oborny said. “Counselor Jennifer Cullen and I wanted to do something different yet link all the regular preventative strategies we have in place at RP.”

Regency Place counselor and teachers use the Second Step curriculum to provide students with ways to deal with bullies. Teachers use consistent vocabulary across all grade levels so every child understands what is being taught.

“We do this through the Second Step curriculum, classroom and group activities, as well as individual conversations as needed,” Cullen said. “It was fun to mix it up and get the entire school excited about kindness, empathy, and keeping RP bully free!”

During one week in October, four spirit days put extra emphasis on anti-bullying messages. Themed days included Bullies Don’t Impress Me (dress to impress), It’s Cool to be Kind (wear sunglasses), Bullies Are Villains (dress like a superhero), and Proud to be RP Bully Free (spirit wear). Daily announcements focused on what bullying looks like, how bystanders have power in these situations, and strategies to use against bullying.

Every student was challenged to write “tips to handle a bully” on a small card, starting with the phrase “One time . . .” The colorful cards were displayed so everyone could learn from other experiences.

“There were lots of touching and true life experiences from an elementary perspective,” Oborny said. “When students read and heard about other students’ experiences and what worked for them, that was powerful!”

While the cards touched on everything from playground conflict to neighborhood issues, all of them served as reminders that bullying can happen anywhere.

“What impressed me the most was that while kids had personal experiences where they were bullied, there were an equal amount of situations where kids had been a bystander and took an active role in helping the bullied friend,” Oborny said. “What powerful stories of empathy and compassion — that’s when educators know their teaching makes a difference!”