Every October, communities come together to observe Bullying Prevention Month, a dedicated time to raise awareness about the harmful effects of bullying. This initiative aims to foster a culture of kindness, empathy, and respect, primarily focusing on educating children about the importance of preventing bullying.
Groveport Madison Schools and the school counselors in our buildings work all year to teach our children about bullying; however, they spend extra time during the month of October bringing awareness to bullying prevention to help create a safer and more inclusive environment for everyone.
Educating children about bullying from a young age allows for early intervention. Educators and parents can address issues before they escalate by fostering open communication and teaching children to recognize and report bullying behavior.
The school counselors at Groveport Madison Schools do a great job of leading classroom guidance sessions about bullying that are specific to each grade level and age range. The counselors discuss the difference between a bully and being mean and what teasing is as well.
"Students are advised to speak up for themselves as victims," says Glendening School Counselor Kari Kavanaugh. "We role-play, and if someone says something mean, I try to redirect them to respond with something nice. 'Hey, your shoes are ugly.' Instead of getting mad or crying, respond with, 'Oh, thanks, yours are the coolest I've ever seen.' This puts a stop to being mean and allows the student to take back their power."
Teaching children about bullying promotes the importance of inclusivity. By fostering a sense of belonging and acceptance, schools and communities can create environments where differences are celebrated rather than used as a basis for bullying.
Our school counselors have also noticed that children are often witnesses to bullying incidents. Our school counselors, teachers, and building administration empower our students to become active bystanders, intervening and reporting when they see someone mistreating another student. This collective effort can significantly reduce the prevalence of bullying.
"If students see something, they should say something, and we will do something. We teach students that if they see bullying happening, they should be upstanders instead of bystanders," says Middle School South School Counselor Lauren Mathews. "This may include telling the bully to stop, shifting focus from the bully away from the victim, not encouraging the bully in any way by laughing, and most importantly - telling an adult. School counselors are support staff to whom students can report bullying discreetly."
Bullying Prevention Month serves as a crucial reminder that the fight against bullying requires a collective effort. By instilling the values of empathy, kindness, and respect in children, we pave the way for a future where bullying is not tolerated. Through education and awareness, we can shape a society united against the harmful effects of bullying, fostering a culture of inclusivity and understanding.
If you have any questions about bullying or want to learn more about Groveport Madison Schools' bullying prevention plans, please contact your student's school counselor.