Letter to the Editor: Action steps against bullying
The goal of the Lincoln Elementary PTO is to promote and encourage communication between parents, teachers, administration and the community. We sponsor and organize fundraising and school events, which deepen our community spirit and enrich our children’s educational, social, and developmental experiences at Lincoln Elementary.
Within our goal, we have identified ways to reduce bullying at our school. Since the arrival of Mrs. Brooke Bargender in 2015, the PTO believes we have made great strides to combat bullying.
The PTO constructed a Buddy Bench in the summer of 2015 and has financially supported many of the programs listed below:
• Dens: Every staff member has a den, which consist of 11-12 students in grades K-6. They meet twice a week for 20 minutes to build relationships and participate in team building activities. Students meet other students from the upper or lower grades and become very close throughout the year. The students get to know and trust other adults in the building. This is the second year of the program and Lincoln staff has witnessed great results from this program.
• Student of the Month: One student from each classroom who models exemplary behavior is chosen to walk the red carpet at the all-school assembly to receive recognition and an award.
• Golden Plunger: The custodial staff gives the golden plunger to the class that keeps their classroom
and lockers the cleanest each month.
• School Store: Paw Dollars (tickets) are awarded to students who demonstrate safe, respectful and responsible behavior. Each month, students can turn in their tickets and shop at the school store or save them for a bigger prize.
• Paws: Given to classes as a whole who are following the school rules and being safe, respectful and responsible.
• Linc: A giant stuffed tiger given to the class with the most Paws at the end of each month.
• Monthly School Team Building Activities: Different activities, like a human pyramid, allow an opportunity for every student to communicate and work together with the entire school These programs build values of respect and responsibility. The students learn that everyone has value and their opinions and contributions should be appreciated. Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. When you create an
environment of equality and value, real or perceived power dissolves and the number of bullying incidents is reduced. Some of the programs that Lincoln has implemented in every classroom are:
• ACT Now: Healthy friendships, tattling vs telling, how to speak up respectfully for self or others, speaking up about cyberbullying, and other topics are discussed in each classroom
• Guidance curriculum: What is respect and what does it look like? Difference between conflict and bullying and how to respond appropriately.Teaching upstanders: build caring community, be caring and helpful, manage emotions, have empathy, solve problems peacefully
• Small counseling groups offered to help kids build skills they may be struggling with: being respectfully assertive,positive self-concept, build others up and spread kindness, and other concerns, family change, loss issues
• Kindness Tree: Spreading kindness and being helpful
• Training for the playground staff to know how to respond appropriately if they think an incident may be bullying so they can handle it appropriately
• Open Door Policy: Students have a wide variety of ways to report concerns – verbally to a teacher or another staff member they trust, in a note for Mrs. Bargender or Mrs. Roehl, or talk to a parent or guardian who can reach out to a staff member by email or phone.
Personally, my son went through a couple of incidents at Lincoln where we felt he might be targeted by others. Each of these incidents was resolved completely and thoroughly. I know the importance of confidentiality and understood that my husband and I would not be given details about follow up that occurred with the other students.
We worked with our son to speak up and gave him suggestions about how to work with people he may not get along with. We feel Mrs. Bargender and the staff at Lincoln handled everything quickly and appropriately, with full resolution.
In my experience at Lincoln, the staff teams up with parents to build relationships and open the lines of communication. Parents and staff at Lincoln work together in partnership to support students so they feel safe and comfortable at school.
Lincoln PTO President,
2016 – present
Lincoln PTO Treasurer, 2013 – 2016
Mother of a Lincoln fi fth grader