The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program describes bullying as an aggressive behavior that is intentional, involves an imbalance of power and is usually repeated over time. During the month of January our weekly meetings center on several communication topics to help put an end to bullying:
· Creating a safe atmosphere in which students feel comfortable reporting bullying incidents
· Choosing to stop spreading rumors, gossip or lies
· Understanding nonverbal emotions to recognize how a classmate is feeling
In the month of February the focus of our meetings is identifying feelings such as empathy, anger and courage. Middle school students need assistance to reinforce empathetic responses and they need practice understanding the perspective of others. Students benefit from opportunities to understand emotions and learn positive ways to channel feelings such as anger. Students also need to be taught to recognize the opportunities to show courage and respond to bullying.
It is our hope that the Olweus program can be used to discuss issues that come up in the classroom or in the community and to build cohesiveness among our students.