By Anne Marie Amacher
DAVENPORT — A day of hands-on activities emphasized and re-energized the anti-bully program at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic School.
Students, faculty, staff and volunteers wore matching T-shirts for the daylong program Sept. 24. School counselor Jennifer Bakener said the Olweus Bully Prevention Program has been in effect for about five years, but this year the school decided to re-energize it.
“There are new things we want to emphasize,” she said, such as upper-grade students’ use of technology and the ways bullying occurs with technology — at school and outside school. Text-messaging, use of cell phones and social media websites are examples of technology.
Students “don’t always realize that what they text or write is there for everyone to see,” Bakener said.
Throughout the day, St. Paul students attended six stations, varied by grade, which included activities such as making anti-bully posters, crafts, storytelling, plays, writing positive aspects about fellow students and team-building.
“We don’t emphasize tattle-telling,” Bakener said. “We want the students to report what is going on and see that they are helping someone … we want to empower the kids to stand up for one another.”
Bullying involves not just physical gestures, but verbal and emotional ones, too, she noted.
A 15-member committee comprised of parents and teachers came up with ideas for the anti-bullying day and spent the day at the school leading activities for the students. And the community at large helped fund the T-shirts for everyone at the school that day.
A parent night was held Sept. 23, which Bakener estimated drew 150-175 parents. “We talked about what bullying is and what they can do to prevent it. It takes everyone to combat bullying.”