The kick-off on Oct. 21 was a huge success. The entire afternoon was dedicated to the new bullying prevention program. Eric Johnson, a Lewisburg native, who now works with STARS of Nashville, was in attendance and brought with him the Kids on the Block team who presented a puppet show during the assembly. The students also had a chance to participate in a Role Play Scavenger hunt where each class was responsible for solving a bullying situation then acting it out. The students also had a chance to participate in team-building games as a class and partake of the concession stand. Michelle Ashley from the Central Office was on hand for the day and provided support to MES to make this event and program happen.
The Olweus program has been proven to be one of the most effective programs in the U.S. at reducing bullying in schools and improving the overall school atmosphere. MES began preparing for this program last spring when all 3rd through 6th graders took a survey to learn more about bullying in their school. MES formed a bullying prevention committee including Mateo Coronado, Jessica Kincaid, Tina Wood, Laura Giles, Jennifer Huey, Terry Brooks, Dee Curry, Suzie Presson, Shawn Gilbert, Blair Goodman, Principal Deborah Wade, John Christmas (Lewisburg Police Department), and Sarah Luna (MES parent). This team was trained in June and began their hard work of implementing this new program that was just kicked-off school wide.
The Olweus Program is unique because it is not just a one-time event like a lot of bullying prevention programs. The Olweus Program is designed to be a comprehensive school-wide program that includes all staff, and is an on-going program. This program implements measures such as all staff being trained to handle bullying, classes having weekly meetings, developing guidelines for disciplining bullying behavior, and school rules against bullying. The premise of the program is that everyone is responsible for stopping bullying. The adults and children have a role. The adults properly deal with bullying through prevention, on the spot interventions when bullying occurs, and follow-up with students who are bullied and students who bully. Students take responsibility by taking a stand against bullying and helping those who have been bullied.
The students have also been very involved in this process. The slogan, "Got 2 B Bull E Free" was created by one of MES's own students, 6th grader Bella Huey. Before the kick-off MES held a contest for students to name their new bullying prevention program and there were hundreds of ideas submitted. MES also had a T-shirt design contest with Taylor Randolph (4th grade) and Lindsey Foreman (3rd grade) being the winners. The three students will be getting free "Bull E Free" T-shirts as a reward for their ideas. Also, starting in January, MES will begin their Bullying Prevention Student Team that will include students from every class starting with the 2nd grade.