Recognizing Outstanding Character in Kids
The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program
The NBC Little Panther community is currently implementing the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program. This program is not a curriculum approach to preventing incidents of violence, but rather a school wide approach to promote a safe and caring climate for all students. This program includes positive behavioral supports throughout the building. The kickoff event will occur in the fall each year, where students will learn about the program and begin to review the school-wide rules, which can be found throughout the building. All teachers in the building are trained in responding to bullying incidents and supporting victims, bystanders and those children who bully. School wide rules include:
1. We will not bully others.
2. We will try to help students who are bullied.
3. We will try to include students who are left out.
4. If we know that somebody is being bullied, we will tell an adult at home and an adult at school.
Each classroom in grades 1 - 5 will hold regular class meetings where they will discuss what bullying is, why it should not happen and how to ask an adult for help if they see or experience bullying. They will also talk about the community within the classroom and any suggestions for improvements. This will also be a forum for students to compliment one another and celebrate successes. In kindergarten, the DinaSchool program for social/emotional development is currently in use. The kindergarten team uses the Olweus principles and language during their DinaSchool program as a way to incorporate both into their approach to bullying prevention and peaceful conflict resolution.
Additionally, the program incorporates both positive and negative consequences for following or not following the four school-wide rules. Developmentally appropriate negative consequences will be administered through the classroom teacher and/or the principal when necessary. Positive contributions will be celebrated with the Golden Award for Outstanding Character, where the special area teachers will nominate one class each month for displaying a specific character trait. Additionally, one student from each grade will be nominated by classroom teachers for the Positive Panther award.
While the Olweus program has been proven to show a reduction in the incidents and severity of bullying within a school, it continues to be a problem. Unfortunately, bullying happens in every school, business and community. Our job as parents, educators and citizens is to make every possible effort to decrease the chances and opportunities for bullying. We have a responsibility to all children: those who bully, victims and bystanders. All children exposed to bullying are affected. Studies show that victims suffer physically, miss more school, are more likely to experience depression and anxiety and struggle with self esteem. Children who bully others are more likely to escalate their antisocial behaviors and are more likely to take part in risky behaviors and experience criminal convictions in their teens and adult years. Even bystanders are affected. Children observing bullying may feel anxious or guilty and often experience a decrease in empathy for others over time.
Our Little Panthers are not exempt from this nation-wide problem. Each year we do a survey of all children in the building. The results are used to make improvements in our approach to supervision, discipline and class meetings. We are beginning our fifth year of implementation and the program is strengthened by comments and suggestions, so please feel free to be an active part of the plan!
Please review the following document, developed by Hazelden Foundation, for a thorough explanation of the Olweus program geared toward parents of all students in our building: Parent Information.
The Olweus program includes many resources for parents, including tips and suggestions for supporting your child, our school, and our group efforts to create a safe and caring school climate: http://www.olweus.org/public/bullied_child.page