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Who you gonna call? Bullybusters!

Assembly kicks off districtwide bullying prevention program

September 03, 2010|By DANA BROWN
  • Greencastle-Antrim Elementary School teachers perform a skit Friday during an assembly geared toward helping students identify and prevent bullying in their school.
Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

GREENCASTLE, Pa. -- Greencastle-Antrim Elementary School students got a visit from "Bullybuster" Friday to kick off a districtwide bullying prevention program.

About 675 third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students gathered for an assembly geared toward helping students identify and prevent bullying in their school.

The assembly featured a skit performed by several teachers and the rousing arrival of elementary school principal Chad Stover in the starring role as "Bullybuster."

"'Bullybuster' to the rescue," Stover yelled as he ran the length of the basketball court in costume and mask, carrying a machine crafted from a vacuum and cordless leaf blower he called his bullybuster.

While his entrance drew laughter and cheers from the students, Stover steered the students' attention toward a discussion on ways they can help prevent bullying when they see it.

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The teachers' skit demonstrated several forms of direct and indirect bullying, including name calling, making fun of someone because of their appearance or abilities, and excluding others from their group.

Stover told the students it is difficult to catch indirect bullying, "but it's still a no-no."

"If you are with a bully and you laugh or let them get away with it, in our book, you are a bully," Stover said. "If you are not helping fight against bullying, you are part of the problem."

Donnie Cordell, elementary wellness teacher, said the push of the program is to get students "thinking to themselves how they might have bullied others."

"It gives bullying a face, makes it more recognizable," he said. "Now, they know how to prevent it."

Stover said the new bullying prevention program is a proactive approach rather than a reactive response to a bullying problem in the schools.

"We felt it was one of those good things to do," he said.

Fifth-grader Lyza Martin said she thought the assembly "was neat."

"It showed how kids should treat others, that if you want people to treat you nicely, you have to treat them nicely, too," the 10-year-old said.

Mitchell Hade, 9, a fourth grade student, said he thought the best part was "when Mr. Stover came out in his anti-bullying suit," but added that the skit showed him "how to treat others."

The kickoff assembly was one component of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, a nationally recognized program funded by a grant from Highmark Healthy High Five, Stover said.

The program will continue throughout the school year and include weekly class meetings where students can discuss any bullying situations, topics or concerns they have, he said.

Stover said the district also has rewritten its discipline policy to incorporate aspects of the anti-bullying program. All district staff have received bullying prevention training as well, he said.

"We're never going to eliminate it, but we're trying to recognize it and effectively deal with it," he said.

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