Posts Tagged With: Anti-Bully Week

AMS Students Rally to Keep Their School Bully-Free

Just like their Falcon counterparts in the high school, these middle schoolers are learning to Speak Up and Stand Out in their building, too. With the help of guidance counselor Rhonda Wilson, students spent a week learning to celebrate the characteristics that make them unique — and learning how to accept and celebrate the unique qualities in others, too.

Allendale Middle School, Anti-Bully

Students were invited to add a post-it note of things they like about themselves during the middle school’s anti-bully week.

With statistics indicating that bullying peaks in middle school and that relational aggression among girls is at its highest in 8th grade, Allendale believes that attacking the issue of bullying is critical. To do so, Mrs. Wilson explained that one of the first steps they take is defining it clearly and explaining the difference between “an intentional, repeated imbalance of power” and mean behavior or normal conflict.

Another anti-bullying technique that Allendale Middle School continues to use gives students an anonymous way to report problems. It is called the “bully box.” The bully box offers students a way to submit reports of bullying to school administrators by merely dropping a note into the box — no name required.

Echoing the spirit of Elie Wiesel who once famously said, “What hurts the victim most is not the cruelty of the oppressor but the silence of the bystander,” one AMS student commented, “The bully box gives bystanders an outlet to say something.”

The school has also instituted an open invitation for students to put notes in their teachers’ mailboxes if they prefer. This, combined with other anti-bullying training that each grade receives, is helping to continue a safe learning environment at school.

“All students in the middle school were trained in anti-bullying techniques last year, and the 6th grade was trained and will continue to be trained each year.  It allows for common language and skills for sticking up for yourself and others,” said Mrs. Wilson.

The “Sit by Someone New” initiative at lunch is yet a third way students can build bridges and foster understanding with classmates. On this day, students were given color-coded cards that they matched up with another person holding the same color card. Once they found a partner, they had the opportunity to sit by someone they didn’t know or usually sit with.  The hope here is that walls will be broken down when students talk with those who seem “different” or are unfamiliar to them.

Finally, one of the new things Allendale Middle School will be trying this year is an online mediation forum between a school counselor and students struggling with relationships at school.  Mrs. Wilson shared that the school is working with the technology department to pursue options for this new platform.

For all the students who have made the commitment to be kind and be a friend, thank you! Our hallways are safer because you’ve pledged to work against bullying!

Allendale Middle School, Anti-Bully

Mrs. Wilson joins a group of students for a lunchtime discussion.

Allendale Middle School, Anti-Bully

Categories: Allendale Middle School, Allendale Public Schools | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

AMS Encourages Kindness Through Anti-Bullying Week

For students at Allendale Middle School, bullying is more than an eight-letter word: it’s a problem to be taken seriously and an issue that demands education.

According to research conducted by the Allendale Middle School Leadership Team, 160,000 U.S. kids are bullied every day. However, middle school students on our campus say that while statistics may be grim across the nation, they insist that bullying in Allendale is improving thanks to initiatives like this one run under the guidance of school counselor, Mrs. Rhonda Wilson.

Middle school students work together to end bullying

Eighth graders Brock Bardwell and John Huistra encourage their classmates to sign the bullying pledge.

8th grader Brock Bardwell shared that, “Bullying has gotten better since we’ve started the anti-bullying campaign,” and Leadership Team member Lexy Wilson agreed, saying, “…kids in our school have really hit on this as something to change, and we’re already seeing a difference.”

Brook Modderman and Lexy Wilson helped coordinate Anti-Bullying Week activities at AMS.

Brook Modderman and Lexy Wilson helped coordinate Anti-Bullying Week activities at AMS.

The team members first met several weeks ago to begin planning for Anti-Bullying Week, voting on this year’s motto, “Be the Change.” To kick things off, a poster contest around the theme was promoted, with Samantha Brovant winning 1st place, Lydia Terpstra coming in 2nd, and Lindzi Gritters snagging 3rd place. Winners were voted on by teachers and were announced on Wednesday, March 27.

Students design posters to encourage classmates to stop bullying

Other activities included sharing bullying statistics during school announcements, organizing a “sit by someone new at lunch” day, encouraging students to sign a “Bullying Pledge”, and participating in a “Post-it Poster” which gave students the opportunity to use Post-it notes to add positive thoughts to a large school-sized poster.

how to stop bullying

Students reported that “sitting by someone new at lunch” was a great experience. To help everyone strike out of their comfort zones and encourage true mixing, each student was given a colored card upon entering the cafeteria. They were then instructed to find the table where other students were seated with the same color cards. Doing so meant that lunch tables were random, fresh, and full of new friends to meet!

8th grader John Huistra revealed that, “1 in 7 students has witnessed bullying or has been bullied.” But then came the words that define the week: “Our school wants to change that.”

And changing they are: through education and activities and raising awareness. What begins as a tiny seed planted, a small kindness shown, a grace given when undeserved, hearts and minds are softened, and slowly, transformation occurs.

Margaret Mead said it best long ago: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Thank you to Mrs. Wilson and the entire AMS Leadership Team for your diligent work to change the world, one student at a time!

Categories: Allendale Middle School | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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