Male said the anti-bullying week also helps students recognize in themselves that when they act out for any reason, they may be bullying someone without their knowledge.
Encouraged by a sign above the front with positive slogans like, "Don't be shy, introduce yourself!" students are asked to connect and strengthen the bonds of the school community.
"It's a great activity to open their own groups," said faculty advisor to Peers for Peace Maria Pacheco. Pacheco stated that students may not like the idea of spending a lunch period away from friends, but learning something new about someone can help open up new ideas and expand groups of friends within the school.
"It's a slow process," said Male. "Some kids are resistant, but some kids are meeting new people."
As part of the program, students are given prizes for talking to new people and learning new things about their lunch cohorts. Gift cards to Dunkin' Donuts and peace sign paraphernalia were among the prizes.
"The kids are really into it," said Amy Molina, the seventh-grade home and careers teacher at the school. "They want to stop it [bullying] but don't know how."
Molina taught a section on anti-bullying in her class and has helped school guidance counselors create an anti-bullying forum for students to speak out against bullying in the school.
As part of the week's activities, students traced their hands and created a sign with their descriptions of how to stop bullying in their school. Statements included "Stop gossiping," "Stand up for yourself," "Stand up for your friends," "Respect people the way you want to be respected," "If you see bullying. STOP IT," and "Even if you dislike someone you shouldn't say mean things. If it's not nice don't say it at all."
Students will also have the opportunity to talk with guidance counselors, social workers and the school psychiatrist on Thursday, Nov. 11, as a part of the anti-bullying week.""