As one of the health teachers at Cimarron Middle School in Parker, CO, it is truly a passion of mine to teach students how to be healthy in all aspects of their lives, and that includes teaching them about bullying and its effects. It breaks my heart to see what is happening to some children on a day-to-day basis. I believe every child should feel comfortable attending school without the worry of being bullied. The school should be a place where all students feel safe and respected; however, that is not the situation in schools across the country.
We see all types of bullying at the middle school level, including physical, verbal (which includes on-line communications), pushing, laughing at a fellow student, gestures, and much more. The students and I frequently have discussions about bullying, and it is interesting to hear what they have to say. Almost all kids agree that the majority of bullying happens on the school bus, which is easy to understand as there is only one bus driver in charge of 70 kids. They also say that bullying takes place while walking home and in the cafeteria. It might sound surprising to hear that bullying takes place in the cafeteria as there are so many adults present; however, bullying can be subtle just as much as it can be obvious. Isolating students and giving certain looks can be hurtful and considered bullying, and this won’t necessarily be noticed by the staff. Bullying is such a huge issue at the middle school level because all of the kids are trying to fit in and be accepted. For many, they may not care what it takes to fit it. Some kids will do whatever it takes to make them feel powerful and important. These children need to be made aware that if they are getting some type of pleasure from causing pain to someone else, then something is wrong and needs to change.
There are many things we are doing at Cimarron Middle School to help put a stop to bullying. In every 8th grade health class, the students learn about violence prevention and bully prevention. Cimarron uses the Bully Prevention Program created by Scott Ross, M.S., Rob Horner, Ph.D., and Bruce Stiller, Ph.D., and is taught by all teachers. This program teaches the kids to use the stop, walk and talk approach. Step one is to tell the bully to stop while hitting the side of one hand with the palm of the other hand. This lets the bully know that he/she is bullying and to stop. If the bullying continues, the second step is to walk away. The third step is to tell someone like a parent, teacher, counselor, or administrator. With this program, and the continued discussions and education by the health teachers, it is my hope that bullying can be eliminated from the school altogether.
When it gets right down to it, there are self-esteem issues on both sides of any bullying situation. We all need to work on letting our children, all children, know and feel they are worthy, more than good enough, beautiful, and loved. Let’s all work together to create this environment, whether at school, home or elsewhere. Let’s teach our kids to consciously make choices to do what is right and to be true to themselves every minute of every day.
Allison McKean is a passionate seventh and eighth grade health teacher at Cimarron Middle School, as well as the health department chair.
Allison McKean As one of the health teachers at Cimarron Middle School in Parker, CO, it is truly a passion of mine to teach students how to be healthy in all aspects of their lives, and that includes teaching them about bullying and its effects. It breaks my heart to see what is happening to […]
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