Cleveland kids wear blue, fight bullyingPublished 11:17am Wednesday, October 3, 2012 Updated 12:00pm Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Bullying occurs when a student is exposed repeatedly and over time to negative, unwanted actions. This can include hitting, kicking, pushing, stealing, damaging belongings, taunting, teasing, name calling, insults, threats, rejection, exclusion, social isolation, rumors and gossip. In an attempt to put an end to bullying, Cleveland School is taking action and raising awareness for the negative, potentially dangerous act.
Students and staff at Cleveland Elementary School recognized National Bullying Prevention Day by wearing blue Monday. This was the kickoff to Bully Prevention Awareness Month.
“I think the kids need to be aware of things to look for,” said Cleveland school-based social worker Nikki Thorson. “If you see somebody being bullied, it’s OK to stand up for that person. It’s also important that kids being bullied need to know what to do. They need to talk to an adult. It’s important for them to be aware it’s not OK to be bullied.”
It is estimated that 160,000 students nationwide skip school every day to avoid being bullied or harassed. Bullying can interfere with learning and lead to school violence, Thorson said.
Thorson teaches two classes in each classroom each month on bullying, life skills and character. She began teaching these last year, and she said she has already noticed big changes in the students.
“They understand and are aware of the things going on around them,” she said. “I’ve taught the kids not to be tattle tales but good reporters. I explain that being a tattle tail is to purposely get somebody in trouble, but good reporters let somebody know something bad is happening and ask for help.”
Thorson said she doesn’t think bullying could ever be eliminated 100 percent, but it’s definitely possible to see bullying behaviors decrease and teach students how to get out of a situation if bullying is taking place.
“I love this,” she said. “I love interacting with the kids and building positive relationships with them. They feel comfortable talking to me. Overall, this has been very rewarding.”