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Innovating against bullying

Building a safe school environment is essential in supporting a student’s educational growth. In recent years, reports of bullying have become more prevalent among children and teens nationwide, both in person and online. Clover Park schools use a variety of tools to educate students on appropriate behavior, bullying and what to do if they are or know someone who is being bullied. Schools are also working with staff, students and families to build inclusive schools and focus on social and emotional learning.

Here are some of the ways schools are tackling these important issues.

Increasing student voice

Lakes High School is focused on decreasing bullying by putting student leaders at the forefront. Each advisory class will elect a student representative this year who can bring issues up to school administration and the ASB.

“The more we can hear from students about what they’re experiencing and what they think needs to be addressed, the more we can tackle the issue effectively,” said Lakes leadership teacher Katy Kirkham Schafer.

Lakes’ ASB students have also taken the initiative to help educate more students about bullying. Typically, ASB officers put on an assembly about bullying for ninth graders, but this year, they’re doing an assembly for each grade level and creating activities for students to do in their advisory classes on the topic.

Beach buddies 

Located on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Beachwood Elementary School experiences a lot of new students entering the school throughout the year. Its “beach buddies” program assigns one or two students in each class to help new students get adjusted to their surroundings.

Beach buddies have three important jobs:

  1. Be a “buddy” to all students
  2. Watch the “buddy bench” for students in need of a friend
  3. Take new students on a tour of the school and make them feel welcome

“The aim of this program is to create a positive school culture where students feel safe and ready to learn,” said Beachwood counselor Michael Wells.

Poster contest

Rainier Elementary School held an anti-bullying poster contest in October as part of its efforts to recognize Bullying Prevention Month. Winning posters were selected for each grade level by a committee made up of four of the school’s Watch D.O.G.S. dads.

The winning posters will be enlarged and put in the halls to remind Rainier students how to recognize and respond to bullying.