Wantagh Middle School was a sea of blue as students donned the color in recognition of Anti-Bully Day.
During homeroom, each class was instructed to watch a streamed YouTube film titled “Kindness Boomerang,” which tracks an act of kindness as it passes from one individual to the next. The students also wrote inspirational messages on paper cutout hands, which will be placed on the school’s walls.
School administrators handed out “Be an Upstander” rubber bracelets with the address of a website, www.sprigeo.com, which allows students to report bullying and other threats anonymously.
Throughout the morning, teachers infused the anti-bullying theme into the curriculum. In band instructor Susan Babcock’s class, small groups of students played for one another and in unison. The lesson of the day was that the music environment is a safe one in that students can learn from mistakes without the fear of being judged or harassed.
Meanwhile, in Lauren Wadalavage’s Spanish class, the students utilized their knowledge of words to describe backpack items and created a skit about a bully trying to take a student’s property.
In Nancy O’Connor’s eighth-grade E-Business class, the students developed websites on Internet safety and cyberbullying and will be creating an anti-bullying video using www.goanimate.com.
“The teachers really devoted the time and used their creativity to work the anti-bully theme into many of the lessons,” Principal Dawn Matrochano stated.
This year, the middle school established the Upstanders Club to help create a safe and non-threatening atmosphere and to relay the message that being a bystander during a bullying incident is as harmful as the act itself. During the year, the club will host various events, speakers and presentations to support the school’s the anti-bullying program.