Carlynton students join together for anti-bullying program
And to think some people thought the Olympics were over.
Granted, the events at Carlynton Junior-Senior High School on Friday didn't include throwing a javelin or running a 50-meter dash. They were more like kickball and darting under a parachute. But the spirit was the same.
On a sunny morning, hours after a pouring rain, the district brought together all of its more than 1,400 students for what it dubbed “Olympics Day,” celebrating the annual start of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program.
“I'm getting goosebumps,” said Lisa Rowley, a high school physical education teacher and the district's federal programs coordinator, surveying the football field where the students massed.
Akin to the international competition a couple of months ago in London — albeit with considerably smaller television ratings — the events opened with a parade of students around the school track.
Paced by a portion of the Golden Cougars marching band, classes presented colorful anti-bullying banners that sported slogans such as “Room 107 Draws Friends & Erases Bullies” and a frog-themed “Hop to it. Don't be a Bully.”
The students then broke into smaller groups of mixed grades and took part in a rotation of activities, including soccer, volleyball, face-painting and tattoos — all led by Carlynton juniors and seniors. Each group even learned part of a flash mob dance performed at Friday's football game.
“We hope the older kids and the younger kids make a friend today,” Rowley said. “When our sixth-graders come up to the junior-senior high, we hope they're more comfortable. We're trying to create a true community culture.”
That, as much as anything else, can help stem the silent problem of bullying. But the research-based Olweus program, developed in the 1980s by Norwegian Dan Olweus, plays a big part in guiding schools worldwide to eliminate behavior issues that, unchecked, can lead to more serious troubles.
Carlynton adopted the program last year, with teachers surveying students on bullying and developing a district-wide policy. Classes in lower grades up to freshmen also began meeting regularly to discuss prevention — sessions that will be more frequent this year.
“It's really to highlight what bullying is, what people can do to prevent it,” Superintendent Gary Peiffer said. “It addresses not just the victim, but the person who may be a bully, and more importantly, the bystanders and what you can do to help create a good middle school, high school experience.”
For at least one morning, that was the case.
“I like helping the young kids. It's fun seeing them grow up, and I know a lot of them because I used to work at the Carnegie Boys & Girls Club,” said sophomore Tyree Johnson of Carnegie, adding that Olweus is making an impact so far.
“It was needed, and it helps. There were different groups, like Goth kids, jocks. Now, everybody's cool with each other.”
Dan Stefano is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-388-5816.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.