Song is the anti-bully

For National Anti-Bullying Month (October), Richie Phillips of 107.7 WGNA, used his Readin', Writin' and Rhymin' program to talk about bullying in elementary schools around the Capital District. The country DJ, who co-hosts the morning show Sean and Richie in the Morning each day, paid a visit to Shatekon Elementary School in the Shenendehowa Central School District and wrote an anti-bullying song with Cate Benardo's fourth grade class.

I wanted to have the childrenin a vehicle other than just written expression"express their feelings about not being a bully. Kids are so tuned into music today, so a lot of them listen to 107.7 and they haven't forgotten the song," said Benardo.

During the first two months of school, Benardo provides a "social landscape" for her students. This year, she decided to focus on anti-bullying because of the stories running rampent in the media about bullying-related incidents and tragedies.

"I figure if you can get kids early on, maybe [they will] grow up with a foundation and start getting the skills they need to prevent themselves from being bullied or becoming bullies," said Benardo. "We talked about what does a bully look like, how do they do it, are you becoming a bully; then Richie came in and set theconcepts and ideas to music."

What Benardo found through classroom discussions and brainstorming, was that her students weren't unfamiliar with bullying, some even experiencing it for themselves.

"They talked about experiences on the bus or on the playground; things that happened to them, what it felt like and how they didn't want to do that to someone else," said Benardo. "You could tell they were relieved it was out in the open and they got to express how they felt. Some expressed fear, especially on the bus with kids who were intimidating and they were thankful they knew where to go now, knew ways to stand up for themselves and it gave them a command of what resources they have themselves."

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