There was a crowd of buddies, not bullies, at Bohemia Elementary School on Thursday, March 1. Parents and students filed into the school after hours for pizza, games and story time as part of the schools anti-bullying program: Buddies, not Bullies.
“It’s all anecdotal but, yes, we haven’t had a lot of bullying this year,” Heather Bridgens, Bohemia Principal, said.
The program is simple. Classes pair-up and students pair-off, engaging in art projects and reading activities during class time. The aim is to create relationships throughout the school in an attempt to have students interacting with one another and stem bullying.
“It’s just something we started this year where it’s just one more way to prevent bullying to form these relationships,” Nikki McClean teaches first grade at Bohemia and as part of the program, she paired with a fifth-grade class. On Tuesday night, the class had artwork on display that was created through collaborating with its fifth-grade partners.
Projects and activities range throughout the Buddies, not Bullies program from technology projects to simpler activities. In Lacie Geizler’s kindergarten class, fourth-graders helped her students create a collage that features magazine cut-outs of both buddies’ favorite things.
“It seems so simple but we had the most interaction out of this project,” she said.
Tuesday’s event also featured a reading with author Doreen Grace Kester who wrote “Paisley,” a book about an insect who is constantly bullied by a squirrel and the use of “positive self-talk” to empower the victims of bullying.