Bullying gets look at Neil Armstrong
Forest Grove middle school students learn ways to gain power safely
On their way to special morning assemblies last Friday, black-clad Neil Armstrong Middle School students filed past a bulletin board of hand-lettered signs.
Knowing whats right doesnt mean much unless you do whats right, proclaimed one.
I never set out to be weird. It was always other people who called me weird, observed another.
All I can do is be me. Whatever that is, acknowledged a third.
The assemblies were the culmination of a two-week Black Out Bullying campaign organized by the schools counseling department and the 27-member eighth-grade student leadership team under the direction of advisor Malynda Wenzl.
Kicking off assembly activities that included a dress-a-superhero contest, Principal Brandon Hundley told cheering students, We dont accept or tolerate bullying.
School counselor and Black Out Bullying curriculum author Linda Henderson said that in the last two weeks, seventh- and eighth-graders spent time in daily advisory classes watching videos and viewing written material on their iPads, interacting with each other and participating in teacher-led discussions.
The easy part is getting these kids to empathize with fellow students who are being intimidated physically, socially or emotionally they know whats good behavior and bad behavior, Henderson said. The hard part is to get them to do something about it.
During the 35-minute classes, students were asked to share times when they felt they had been bullied or seen others bullied, and discuss what they could do to help stop bullying.
Our teachers did an awesome job of working with the kids, said Henderson, the only counselor at the 850-student school. Theyre highly trained in math or the humanities, but in many cases arent prepared to counsel, deal with incidents of bullying, or the effect it has on students.
Henderson added that its all about power. Culturally, power is obtained through intimidation or domination toward someone who is perceived as being weaker. What we try to do is show the kids how to get power without bullying to give them a better understanding of what it takes to build and maintain relationships, and how to be a good friend.
One of the better ways to help reduce incidents of bullying is to get the students involved in activities such as the traveling choir, music and other electives, Henderson continued. But whats really needed is for parents to be involved, and to help get their kids involved. As parents, they can constantly be planting seeds about how to use power for good.
School officials plan to follow up the anti-bullying theme after the winter and New Years breaks with a two-week, digital-citizenship program designed to teach students how to safely manage their lives with social media.Add a comment