It only takes one student to stop bullying, and Palmer Elementary wants each of its students to be that one.
“It’s about building a culture and community we want in our school, and that all the kids understand they are all responsible for taking care of one another,” said Palmer Elementary principal Toby Youngs.
The school kicked off its Olewus Bullying Prevention Program Tuesday. The school day began with an assembly. Teachers and student leaders provided examples of different kinds of bullying, as well as taught the distinctions between bullying and conflict.
They also read the book One, by Kathryn Otoshi. The story illustrates the power of one person to prevent bullying.
“I love the story that was read because it is so simplistic in both illustrations and words, but the meaning is so impactful. It truly can resonate with any individual, regardless of age. The book shows that it only takes one person to make a difference in somebody else’s life and change their life for the better. My hope is that it got students to recognize that if somebody is being bullied they have the voice to stand up for them and help them and to not be afraid,” said school counselor Sandra Tredo.
Teachers gave students in UPK-2nd grade individual number ones. On them, they could draw a picture of something from the book that they liked, what it looks like to be an upstander, or someone that has made a difference in their lives. Then, their classroom teacher would have a discussion with them about what each of them could do to make a difference.
Students in 3rd-5th grade wrote about not only how someone has made a difference in their life, but also how they could be the “One”, and make a difference in somebody else’s life.
5th grader Lucas Ruth wrote about his 16-year-old brother.
“He’s changed my life by being by my side and helping me with my homework when I ask him,” said Ruth.
In addition to Tuesday’s kickoff, staff at Palmer have ongoing activities to reinforce positive behavior. Teachers hold morning meetings with their students that focus on character traits such as respect and caring for each other.