Students and staff of Lincoln Elementary School have dedicated five school days to stomping out bullying.
The anti-bullying campaign, which was held from Monday through Friday, was conceived by Lincoln's PTA as a means of increasing bullying awareness and prevention.
Although other Jamestown Public Schools buildings have previously celebrated a PTA-hosted anti-bullying week, this is the first year of Lincoln's participation in such a program. According to Joanne Dean, treasurer of the Lincoln PTA, the anti-bullying week was conceived by the PTA only a few weeks ago, but it has been met with overwhelming approval from everyone involved.
Fourth-graders at Lincoln Elementary School celebrate “Safe to be Yourself Day,” part of a schoolwide anti-bullying week observation, by wearing bizarre, backward and inside-out clothing on Thursday. In the back row, from left, are: Meghan, Ryan, Adrianna and Alex. In the middle row are Mariangelic and Caden. In the front row are Trevor, Kaleb and Olivia.
P-J photo by Gavin Paterniti
"Bullying is a big issue in the schools, and we just felt that it was really pertinent to teach these kids and do it in a fun way where they're not being lectured about it," Dean said. "But a lot of kids are personally affected bullying. It's everywhere. So, that's why we decided that's a message that we need to address. And the feedback I've heard from the teachers is that kids are having fun with it."
Students began their participation in the anti-bullying week by signing a pledge to stand up, rather than stand by, against bullying. The overarching motto of the week to "stomp out bullying" was accentuated by having a different theme each day.
On Monday, students were invited to wear blue to school to recognize Blue Shirt Day World Day of Bullying Prevention. Tuesday's theme was "be a buddy, not a bully," in which students drew illustrations of themselves having a good time with friends. Students brought their favorite books with them to class on Wednesday, receiving an anti-bullying bookmark for their participation. A variety of outfits representing students' self-expression were in abundance on Thursday, when students came to school in mismatched, backwards or inside-out clothing.
Observance of the week will conclude today with "be a good sport and team up against bullying" day, in which students can wear a shirt or jersey of their favorite sports teams.
According to a sampling of fourth-graders, the week has been an enjoyable experience.
"It's been a really good week, and so far there hasn't been any bullying," Alex said. "This week has helped stop bullying a lot."
"I like the part where you get to express yourself and dress however you want," said Meghan, who was wearing pajamas.
Because JPS participation in an anti-bullying week is discretionary on a school-by-school PTA basis, there are varying levels of student exposure to such a program - although JPS does participate in the districtwide Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports program. Dean said the Lincoln PTA, however, is committed to providing an anti-bullying week at Lincoln every year.
"We had huge participation, it's been very well received by everybody," she said. "And next year will be better because we'll have more time to plan it."