Students saying no to bullies

Published 2:51 am Saturday, September 25, 2004

By By SPIROS GALLOS / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Sixth-graders at Howard Elementary School got a lesson in bully prevention Thursday.
Dr. Marcia McEvoy, spoke to children at Howard and James Ellis Elementary schools Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
McEvoy taught children how to stop bullying in the school by having them participate in interactive role-playing situations.
McEvoy would select a teacher to play the bully, she would then instruct children, who were the targets of the teacher's bullying, what to say and do when confronted with a bully.
The first lesson McEvoy taught the children was to be a good bystander.
McEvoy taught the children "shutdowns," or phrases they can say to a bully to let them know bullying is not cool. Some of the shutdowns included, "Knock it off," "That's not cool," and "Nobody likes that."
Students participated in a shutdown exercise where the bully-teacher would make a mean comment to a passing student and other students would say shutdowns to dissuade the bully.
McEvoy also told the children a good way to help is to encourage a bullied student to report the bully to an adult.
Students were reminded to tell adults the five Ws when reporting a bully.
Who did the bullying, what happened, when did it start, where is it happening, and who witnessed the bullying.
Students were also told to put on a poker face when confronted with a bully.
Students were also encouraged to respond in a positive way to bullies.
In one situation, the bully-teacher made fun of a student's shirt, to which the student replied happily, "Thanks for noticing!"
The last lesson McEvoy taught the children was to say a comeback to the bully. Some comebacks she taught the students were "I don't think so," and "Hey, have a nice day."
McEvoy is a consultant to schools, specializing in violence prevention and bully-proofing schools.
McEvoy's program helps curb violence in schools by assisting schools in developing a policy to prevent violence, teaching children strategies to make them harder targets for bullies, and informing parents so they are more aware of situations at school.
Most schools experience a 50 to 80 percent reduction in violence after a year of working with the program, McEvoy said.
Peggy Johnson, the school behavioral specialist, said the school began working with McEvoy after she presented her program at an teacher in-service in May.
Johnson has noticed a significant change in the school since the plan's implementation.
While the system has been working, Johnson admits it's not perfect.