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Fairland institutes ‘anti-bullying’ effort

Fairland West Elementary School counselor Kristie Warner instituted an “anti-bullying” program during the 2010-2011 school year.

PROCTORVILLE — Fairland West Elementary School counselor Kristie Warner instituted an “anti-bullying” program during the 2010-2011 school year.

She used the anti-bullying policy adopted by the Fairland Local Schools in October 2007 as her guide. Warner is the new counselor who replaced Martha Wilks.

Wilks retired at the end of the 2010, school year. Wilks had developed a character education program during her career as counselor at Fairland West and Fairland East Elementary schools.

Warner has adapted the Character Education program to focus on “bully” issues.

Warner began the year with anti bullying sessions for each homeroom class in third grade. The sessions lasted 45 minutes to an hour. These were conducted over several days. Students learned the definition of a bully and that the characteristics are different from an isolated incident.

Warner showed videos such as “Bullies Are A Pain In The Brain.” Warner gave students tips on how to handle a bully by “speaking your peace” and “taking a stand.” An important component of the program is to teach children how to take action when someone else is being bullied.

Students did role playing of bully scenarios. The program gives third and fourth grade students warning signs of friends who might be bullies, and how to make new friends.

The students now have “The Bully Proof Bill of Rights.” A document that has 12 statements for children:

• You have the right to get an education without being afraid of violence or abuse.

• You have the right to report any form of bullying, whether by a student, teacher, parent or family member.

• You have the right to be heard.

• You have the right to be treated with respect, no matter what your race, religion or beliefs.

• You have the right to ask for help when facing a problem.

• You have the right to report violent behavior, threats or weapons at school.

• You have the right to defend someone else who is being bullied.

• You have the right to reject friends who bully others.

• You have the right to be upset about bullying.

• You have the right to be forgiven when you make mistakes.

• You have the right to be accepted by your friends just as you are.

• Don’t forget that other people have the same rights. Think about how you treat others as often as you think about how they treat you.

Warner created a “friendship” program for children at Fairland East in kindergarten, first and second grade.

She began each session by reading the book, “You Are Special,” by Max Lucado. In this story, the imaginary characters learn to respect others, even if they do not look or act like them.

After reading and discussing the book, the classes made “Friendship Flowers.” Once finished, students have said something kind about seven classmates and seven classmates have said something kind about them.