The Cummings Elementary School is hosting their 2nd Annual Anti-Bullying Awareness Week during the last week in October to teach students about prevention and the power of positivity.
On Monday teachers educated students on the definition of bullying, how to identify the aggressive behavior, and how to properly report it. During a “mix it up lunch,” students will be assigned to eat lunch at tables in the cafeteria with classmates they may not normally sit with. They will be given fun conversation starters, like, “Which celebrity would you like to have dinner with?”
“It promotes positive culture around our school,” said Principal Ryan Heraty. “And makes sure students are interacting with everybody.”
On Tuesday there was a discussion on cliques. Students will be celebrating individuality, and writing complimentary messages about their fellow students.
“We talk about the power of being positive and saying nice things about a person,” Heraty said.
One activity involves students crumpling a piece of paper with a smiley face printed on it, and trying to smooth out the wrinkles to make it look like it did before they crinkled it. It opens up a conversation about the lasting effects of saying hurtful comments.
“We see that kids are getting the repeated message,” said Heraty. “Especially when they get to the middle school and start to be more socially aware.
Guest speakers include Detective Dawne Armistead, from the Winthrop Police Department, and Jackie Lamont, Director of Youth Safety for Suffolk County’s District Attorney’s Office, who will be giving a presentation on cyber bullying and internet awareness.
There is a great deal of student and teacher involvement this year, and much of the responsibility has been shifted to the students. Seventh grader, Analise Love, has been elected as the student president for anti-bullying awareness week.
Principal Heraty hopes that parents will become involved with the campaign, and have conversations with their children about what they learned during cyber-bullying week.
“We have a really positive culture in the school this year, which is amazing,” Heraty said. “The community here has been strong. The 7th graders have become great leaders.