Prevent bullying: Just be kind

Published 4:21 pm Monday, October 7, 2019

During the month of October, Team Selma will join districts and communities across the nation that take time to recognize the need to ensure that our schools are safe and free of bullying.  Our bullying campaign is One Team, One Voice:  Against Bullying. 

Our charge is for our scholars to just be kind.

Last week, our schools kicked off their bullying prevention activities to include a rally at the Clark Elementary.  The featured speaker was Monique Davis, Jamari Williams’ mother.  Jamari committed suicide after suffering extreme bullying.  His mother encouraged our scholars to support one another and to be kind.

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This week began with a celebration of World Bullying Prevention Day.  Monday was our Blue Up Day as we painted the district blue.  The idea is to create solidarity against bullying and to push our scholars, teachers and leaders to be mindful of how what we say and do impacts others.

One thing that our scholars are asked to do is to make friends with someone new.  Isolation is a form of bullying that could go unnoticed.  Anyone who has ever felt isolated knows that this is a lonely and stressful existence.  We want our scholars to invite someone new to their lunch table, make a new friend and be a leader rather than a follower. 

In short, be kind.

Kindness goes a long way.  There are many ways to practice kindness.  One way is to open our eyes and just be responsive to others’ needs.  If someone needs help, help them if you can.  If someone is clearly feeling down, smile or share a few kind words.

Kindness is also about telling the truth in a gentle way. The courage to give truthful feedback or advice is powerful.  People can be so mean at times, especially when they have a criticism. 

Showing kindness can also be about what we don’t do.  For example, not gossiping or spreading rumors.  Also, not teasing or “joking on” someone to make them feel bad.

Standing up for others is an excellent way to show kindness.  In bullying terms, the bystander often watches bullying happen and does nothing.  It takes courage and kindness to stand up to a bully and we want our scholars to develop the habit of being kind.

Now, this charge to be kind is not limited to our schools.  During this month and beyond, I dare you to choose kindness.  In our city and in every community, we can all do more and a better job.  We can treat each other with more respect.  We can smile more and complain less.  We can be the leaders that our children can emulate with pride. 

Join us, Selma.

Just be kind.

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