School community works together to stop bullying
The saying, "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me," isn’t always true.
“Words have meaning,” said Alicia Schlattmann, school counselor. “Words have power. Because they have meaning and because they have power, we have a responsibility to use them carefully. And to think about the things that we’re saying and to consider other perspectives and somebody may not see or take something the same way that we do.”
For a young student, when someone makes fun of you or continually harasses you, it can be devastating.
“I mean I don’t want to minimize it but it's kid stuff,” said Matt Seely, principal. “But in a child’s mind, kids stuff is serious and it’s real life and to them and their perspective it’s all they know.“
But there are people who can help. School counselors, teachers, administrators, other students, medical professionals, parents can all become a resource.
“It needs to be everybody working together to try and address the situation,” Schlattmann said. “That means counselors, yes, but also administrators, parents teachers, staff, students because the more people that are working together to address it the better outcomes that we have.”
The most important thing for parents to remember is that if they notice a shift in their child’s behavior or have concerns about bullying they can reach out for help. Health care providers are a great resource that can offer relief, healing and intervention.
“One of the most important things we can do for them is to just make sure that they’re heard and that someone understands and that someone is willing to listen,” Schlattmann said. “And if need-be someone is willing to step in and help and intervene.”
School administrators work to help students find that perspective.
“'Is so and so the boss of you? Does he know everything?’” Seely said. “Things like that to help them realize that they are independent that they are their own person.”
Let your student know, it’s OK to be unique and to embrace who they really are.
“Differences are really something to be celebrated and to be appreciated,” Schlattman said. “We talk a lot about how different doesn’t equal bad, different just equals different.”