Program aims to make peace on the bus

The ride to Roessleville Elementary School will be a little more peaceful now, thanks to a new program launched by a teacher that prevents bullying on the bus.

The Peaceful Bus Program originated in Guilderland, according to Marybeth Tedisco, a second-grade teacher and bully prevention coordinator at Roessleville. Tedisco said she thought it would be a good idea to bring the program to the South Colonie Central School District after several schools districtwide began implementing the Olweus Bully Prevention Program, a comprehensive anti-bullying program that uses team-building activities to encourage students to not bully others.

Tedisco said bullying on the bus is just as prevalent as bullying inside the school.

Students run into bullying issues, such as teasing, name-calling, leaving each other out of seats, and just not feeling comfortable on the bus, she said. "The goal of the program is to develop a safe and peaceful environment."

Tedisco said the goals of the program are to cut down on inappropriate behaviors on the bus, and change the dynamics of the relationship on the bus between students and bus drivers.

"The hope is that if they feel connected and get to know each other more that problems will decrease," she said.

This and the Olweus program are accomplished through a series of team-building activities that allow students to see the harm in bullying, specifically on the bus.

The school held its first Peaceful Bus Program activity day Wednesday, Nov. 5, in the gymnasium. During the workshop, students gathered in groups that corresponded with their bus routes and met at designated locations around the school.

They participated in ice-breaker activities within their groups, and then broke up into pairs for one-on-one ice-breaker activities. The kids eventually came together again, this time with a facilitator, to talk about what a peaceful bus would look and sound like.

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