Bullies beware: Sand Creek Middle School implements program

Bullies had better think twice about stealing lunch money or calling classmates four eyes. In fact, bullies at Sand Creek Middle School might as well throw themselves in their lockers now as a new schoolwide program promises to put an end to bullying.

The program, called the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, was based on the 1993 help book by Dan Olweus, "Bullying at School: What We Know and What We Can Do." In the book, Olweus outlines strategies schools can use to tackle the problem of bullying.

According to Associate Principal of Sand Creek Middle School Jill Penn, the Olweus program was being used at Roessleville Elementary School and the school noticed how well it worked with the kids.

"It's a climate change in the building because its not focused on the bullies themselves or those being bullied," Penn said.

The program is based on four fundamental principles: We will not bully others; we will try to help students who are bullied; we will try to include students who are left out; and if we know that somebody is being bullied, we will tell an adult.

These rules are printed on posters throughout every classroom in the school. There is also a list of penalties one could face if he or she does not abide by the rules.

Also part of the anti-bullying program are weekly class meetings, according to Mike Nichter, a Sand Creek Math teacher.

"They are 25 minutes per week, and it's kind of like an open forum," he said.

Nichter said kids can talk about any encounters they might have had, or anything they might have witnessed and how they handled the situation. According to Penn, there has not yet been a time where students remained silent during the session.

While the teachers and administrators at Sand Creek are trying to tackle bullying during school hours in the halls and classrooms, what happens outside of the classroom also has a huge effect on the success of the program, Nichter said.

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