Pueblo Charter School Network Holds First “Bullying Awareness Day”
The Pueblo School for Arts and Sciences Charter Network wants to start a community movement to fight bullying.
As part of the effort, students at the network’s five schools took year-specific classes on recognizing and reporting bullying on the network’s first Bullying Awareness Day on Thursday.
“We’re really excited to be the first in the community to have this unified anti-bullying movement and hope we pave the way for other schools,” said Heather Wellman, Director of Accountability and Intervention. from PSAS.
The Bullying Awareness Day program, known as the Anti-Bullying Movement, was created in-house by educators and administrators from the PSAS Charter Network, Wellman said.
“We talked a lot about what our kids know and where they are,” she said. “We have tried to adapt these lessons to be really specific to our students to meet their needs and use them with the expertise of our teachers.”
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Kindergarten, first and second graders read “The Recess Queen” by Alexis O’Neill, which tells the story of Mean Jean, a school bully who comes up against the kindness of a classmate named Katie Sue.
In grades three through five, a game show-like activity helped students identify the differences between conflict and bullying.
High school students participated in a scenario-based exercise to explore the perspectives of different parties involved in a bullying situation.
“They’ll practice walking in the shoes of different people in the scenarios, which will kind of give them a perspective of everyone who might be involved, from parents and teachers to children and authors,” said Wellman said ahead of Bullying Awareness Day.
PSAS is seeking to institute “Bullying Awareness Day” as an annual event during the last week of February.
The creation of Bullying Awareness Day was in part a response to the social and emotional effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on students across the country, Wellman said.
“We talked about how we can kind of stop all bullying and help our kids have a better social experience this year,” she said.
The PSAS Charter Network includes Jones Charter Academy, Fulton Heights Charter Academy, e-Learning Academy, Homeschool Enrichment Program and Pueblo Classical Academy.
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PSAS Executive Director Dave Martin said he hopes Bullying Awareness Day creates an environment where bullying is proactively addressed.
“I really hope it plays on the emotions of some of the kids who maybe… have done this before,” he said. “Maybe it will help them understand why it’s not cool or why it’s not the right thing to do.
“Maybe for some of these kids who wake up in the morning and really aren’t as comfortable as they should be about coming to school… Maybe it helps them to feel a little more comfortable and understand that they have someone to go to and that there is help out there,” he said.
Pueblo Chieftain reporter James Bartolo can be reached by email at [email protected]