Oakwood Elementary step-up bully prevention

By Shelby Stewart
Staff Writer
Brandon Twp.-Oakwood Elementary School is taking steps in bullying prevention for their students this year and will be building upon it for the next school year.
“So we are really aware that in order for kids to be able to really do their best learning, we have to help them get along socially and emotionally,” said Oakwood principal Coy Stewart.
To start the year, the school kept their Positivity Project program in place, while adding other measures or resuming programs that were common before the COVID-19 lockdowns.
“The Posititivity Project, it’s really using that program to instill good, strong character traits within our students, help them recognize their own positive character traits, and maybe even learn how to develop new ones,” said Stewart. “And this year, we’ve really been able to add in regular classroom lessons.”
The regular lessons, as taught by the Oakwood Mental Health team, include Bullying 101, or what is bullying, kindness, the importance of reporting, advocating for others, cyber byllying, and tattling vs. telling. Parents and teachers also received additional resources to help kids.
This year, the school also added in a confidential reporting system, so students can report a problem to the mental health team either on paper or with a virtual form.
“We have added an age-appropriate, confidential reporting form for our kids,” said Stewart. “That has been third through fifth grade all this year, and we’re adding second grade this month.”
Students can return paper forms to a number of drop boxes throughout the building, or they can use their mobile device to fill out the google form and submit that. Stewart noticed that kids were even submitting the form outside of school hours. So far this year, 33 confidential reports have been made.
“We also have small counseling groups, individual counseling sessions as needed, and peer-to-peer lunches,” she said.
Next year, they plan to extend the program to the lower elementary grades, going down to kindergarten, as well as keeping the current programs in place and adding in grade-level assemblies.

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