“Leah” visits the school nurse at 12 p.m. like clockwork. Each time, she complains about a different ailment. The real problem, however, is that she is being bullied in the cafeteria.
Avoidance is just one sign that parents, students, staff and interested community members will learn about Tuesday, Nov. 13 at the “I Didn’t Know I was a Bully” Anti-Bullying Community Awareness Event hosted by the School District of University City’s office of Student Services.
The session begins at 6 p.m. in the gymnasium of Jackson Park Elementary School.
The theme “I Didn’t Know I was a Bully!” was borrowed from the book with the same title written by Melissa Richards. In it, Richards reveals a surprising truth: sometimes bullies are not aware that they are exhibiting the bullying behaviors that send students like “Leah” into hiding.
Richards explained that many everyday behaviors – like “Leah’s” friends laughing along when others make fun of her in the cafeteria are notharmless or inconsequential – they are really bullying behaviors.
Bernadette White, executive director of the office of Student Services, hopes the workshop helps the light bulb go off for students who are bullies and do not even know it.
“Our goal is to arm participants with the information they need to understand and prevent bullying. You’d be surprised to learn the number of adults who have emotional scars from being bullied as children.
“We want to heighten awareness about bullying and reassure students and anyone being bullied that they have support,” White said.
The awareness event will provide children with techniques they can use to overcome being bullied and demonstrate how and when to:
- Walk away
- Ask for help
- Stand up to bullies
- Use humor to diffuse the situation
- Make light of put-downs
While bullying is a serious topic, White and her staff of counselors, social workers and nurses plan to make the evening both educational and enjoyable by presenting lessons in a lively Family Feud® format packed with lots of opportunities for audience participation. The evening will also include a dance performance by University City High School students to Rachel Crows song “Mean Girls,” a skit and video.
The first 100 families to sign in at the event will receive a Bully-Free Zone water bottle.
This is the third year that the School District of University City’s office of Student Services has sponsored a community event to raise awareness about bullying.
Besides this event, the District will celebrate Anti-Bullying week Nov. 12-16 by sharing cards with information about whom students can contact if they feel they are being bullied and having students participate in guidance lessons on bullying.
For more information, please contact Student Services at 314-290-4045.