APPLEGATE: Niles Recognizes National Bullying Prevention Month

October is National Bullying Prevention Month. At Niles Community Schools, we use this time as an opportunity to spread awareness about anti-bullying measures and hold programming to engage all students on this important topic. Bullying can happen to anyone, in any place — whether online or in the real world. Recognizing the signs, learning how to combat bullying, and understanding the importance of bringing it to the attention of responsible adults is key in minimizing bullying throughout our community, and our schools.

Being a Niles Viking comes with great responsibility. Niles Community Schools students are relied on to behave with respect and to treat one another kindly. During Bullying Prevention Month, and every month, our schools demonstrate ways students can share Viking unity and show their pride.

At Niles High School, students were encouraged to wear orange on National Anti-Bullying Awareness Day, Oct. 24. Each week of October, NHS students took part in a different anti-bullying theme, which members of the student council announced every week, along with a challenge for each. The themes included: make friends with someone you don’t know, stand up for others, and a week of inclusion, among others.

Ring Lardner Middle School raised awareness on Oct. 24 by showing their Viking pride in blue and gold. Throughout the month, positive messages have been shared on Monday mornings, and the school’s art classes created posters to promote anti-bullying and respect. There also was an anti-bullying promise banner for students to sign to start the anti-bullying conversation, and a group of student ambassadors were nominated to carry on the anti-bullying message throughout the year.

Howard-Ellis Elementary has a year-round initiative of lifting up others, or ‘bucket-filling,’ a tier in the “3R’s” initiative — a strategy that encourages students to be respectful, responsible and resilient. By participating in bucket-filling, students encourage one another where they need it most and promote their most respectful self. Students participate by demonstrating their manners, using kind words and taking pride in how they look and act. The goal of this program is to decrease undesirable behaviors by 10 percent by spring 2019.

In an age when, thanks to the internet and increased connectivity, bullying knows no bounds, Niles Community Schools takes bullying prevention very seriously. We continue to strive to find more and creative ways to combat bullying and we know it will take all of us working together to provide the safe learning environment our children deserve. Thank you for your continued support of the great kids we have in our community.

Dr. Dan Applegate is the superintendent of Niles Community Schools.

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