CMS students say no to bullying
Amy Dymond-Jones and Shannon Van-Spanje, guidance counselors at Catasauqua Middle School, attended the Catasauqua Area Board of Education meeting Feb. 13 to discuss the work they’ve been doing to spread awareness of bullying and how to stop it.
The Olweus Bully Prevention Program has been implemented at the school, and several teachers, the guidance counselors and some support staff have been trained in the program and work with the students to address this problem. The Olweus program is designed to improve peer relations and make schools a safer, more positive place to learn and develop.
Sixth-grade student Lauren DeLong approached her teachers about doing an anti-bullying poster contest in the school. The administration loved the idea and decided to go for it. The posters were judged based on creativity, theme, composition and overall message.
Fifth-grader Skylar Bowersox won first place with sixth-grader MaKayla Mark in second place. The competition’s originator, Lauren DeLong, won third place, and sixth-grader Kelsea Warren got honorable mention.
The students also attended the Feb. 13 school board meeting to be recognized by Catasauqua Middle School Principal Melissa Inselmann.
At the school, there is a special schedule every other Tuesday to engage students in conversation and to keep the lines of communication open. These class meetings allow students to share their thoughts and feelings and help them feel valued. Dymond-Jones and Van-Spanje played a testimonial video for the school board of students sharing their thoughts about the class meetings. Several students appreciated they could connect with each other while simultaneously bonding with their teachers.
The SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) group at the middle school is currently working on a butterfly affect project regarding random acts of kindness. They created more than 100 cutout butterflies and are in the process of writing a simple act of kindness, such as “smile” and “say ‘hello’ to a custodian,” on each one.
According to Dymond-Jones, the butterflies will be hung on a wall in a cascading fashion to visually represent that doing one kind thing can cause a ripple effect of many other kindnesses.
The next project in the anti-bullying program is called “Kindness Rocks.” It again emphasizes random acts of kindness but out in the community. Students will be decorating rocks with positive messages and will be encouraged to leave them in random places out in the community. The idea is to have people seeing positive messages everywhere with the hopes it will improve general morale and spirit.