ADDAMS Elementary School, Be A Buddy, Not A Bully

Monday, August 27th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

It's no fun being the target of a bully, but thousands of school children across the country have to endure it every day. One Tulsa elementary school hopes to put a stop to it with a yearlong program. News on Six Reporter Glenda Silvey went to Jane Addams Elementary School in West Tulsa to find out more.

A kindergarten class at Jane Addams Elementary is having an important discussion. They're talking about times when a bully said or did something mean to them. It's part of the kickoff of a year long Bully Prevention program that actually began at this year's Governor's Safe Schools Summit. That's where Addams' counselor Mary Beth Winters learned that perpetrators of school violence were often bullied at school, and many children suffer from it. "I've found out that two or three children in every classroom in the country are afraid to come to school -- they've been bullied, and they're afraid of a bully." Winters says bullies seek power. "And a lot of the literature tells us that, really bullies -- some of them have good self concepts, but they are looking for power and will identify their students as victims."

Addams's program, "Be A Buddy, Not a Bully," will teach victims how toward off aggressive behavior. Nicholas Howar recalls a time when he was bullied. "When I was living in my apartment, some boy, he was bigger, he always stole my backpack." Students say they learned in the kick off assembly what to do in that situation. Jessica Admire, another Addams Elementary student, "I learned to walk away, talk about it with the boy, or tell a trusted adult." Winters, "You really are targeting victims to empower them and change their behavior." Addams students are glad for the help. Student, Elaina Cruz: "I think it's great for children to learn about it. Well, it's a good thing. A safe choice."

Addams will hold classroom and school-wide activities throughout the year to reinforce bully prevention. The school will hold its own Safe Schools Summit on Wednesday with parents and members of the community.