This past Friday, I was privileged to do an anti-bullying presentation at one of the schools I represent; that is, Bess T. Shepherd Elementary, with the help of their Guidance Counselor Patricia Russell, who helped to set up my schedule.
With an award from CBL Corporation (thank you CBL at Hamilton Place, we love you) a kit was presented to the principal of the school back in the fall. The name of the kit and program that was awarded is called SHARK. This is an acronym for Students Helping Achieve Respect and Kindness. The program is designed for K-2 and I presented a 40 minute program to one class in each category.
Since I was the one that CBL contacted initially when they wanted to know who would best utilize the program, the teacher in me took it as my responsibility to do something with the kit (never waste a resource). Basically the program begins with a nasty shark named McFinn, a bully with a posse, and, well, you’ll have to see for yourselves what the outcome is the next time I do a presentation at the school.
It’s amazing how perceptive young children can be; they can identify and spot a bully instantly and can tell you every detail of why the person is a bully.
One of the pledges of my campaign when I was running for School Board District 7 was to try to do something about the issue of bullying that is so prominent and causing so much harm to our children; children of every age, youngsters and teenagers. This is a bigger monster than we know, so I’ve gradually begun to work through the early grades to make the impact that bullying is harmful and has lasting and sometimes lifetime implications. The students and I had lengthy and intelligent conversations about bullying and several children wanted to talk about how they had been bullied.
My final remarks to the children were: bullies come in all shapes and sizes. Bullying comes in different forms: physical and verbal. The physical kind may not have the same impact as the verbal kind. But, the physical pain may diminish after some time while the verbal assault may linger on. My very final words to the children were to learn this lesson: Be careful what you say, be careful what comes out of your mouth. Once words are spoken, you can never take them back.
I hope this gives some adults some food for thought, as this is a lesson for children as well as for some adults.
School Board District 7 Representative