Middle school campaign focusing on bullying

Sue Kraft, Lifestyles Editor
Posters promoting respect and kindness are located throughout Central Middle School. This poster hangs near the front office.

According to the National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center website, almost 30 percent of youth in the United States are estimated to be involved in bullying — either as a bully, target of a bully or both.

This week has been designated as Bully Prevention Week and schools across the nation are taking a stand against bullying and encouraging parents to discuss the topic with their children.

At Central Middle School, parents were sent letters informing them of the school's various programs and were given an Anti-Bullying Contract, which requires signatures from both the parent and child.

“We hope the parents and kids sit down and talk about it,” said Michelle Manley, School Social Worker at CMS.

As a little extra incentive, she noted, students who return a completed contract by Friday will receive a coupon for 10 extra credit points, that can be used toward any of their classes.

Manley said that respect and kindness are encouraged throughout the school and the district has a strict anti-bullying policy, but there always seems to be bullying at the middle school level.

“I think it's the age,” she said. “It's not just at Central Middle School, a lot of middle schools are struggling with bullying.”

She added, “We're trying to crack down on that.”

Bullies can be male or female and the bullying can be physical, mental or emotional. Cyber-bullying has become prevalent among teens and is another topic parents should discuss with their children, Manley said.

“It's not face to face,” she explained. “You're more apt to write things over the computer when you don't have to look someone in the eye.”

Local students have discussed bullying and each created a link to a “Kindness Chain,” that will be proudly displayed in the halls of CMS later this week.

Manley said each of the students were told to write an “act of kindness” on the link. Some of the statements included: “Help somebody carry their books,” “Stick up for people who get bullied,” “Being there for a friend when they need to talk,” and “Not spreading rumors.”

Manley said this is the first year they are really promoting Bully Prevention Week at CMS. She said last year was her first year at the school and her main focus last October was Red Ribbon Week, an anti-drug campaign held the last week of the month.

“This year I thought we'd do both,” she said. “Both are important.”