Barksdale fourth local school to embrace anti-bullying program this year

Barksdale Elementary First Federal Savings Bank Greg Williamson The Leaf Chronicle March 9, 2011

Scott Humston, Pro Kids Show host, motivates a group of students Tuesday at Barksdale Elementary School during the Olweus Bullying Prevention program kickoff. To kick off the Olweus Bullying Prevention program, Barksdale Elementary teachers parade around the students Tuesday carrying signs with anti-bullying messages.

Words of character, kindness and responsibility were echoed Tuesday at Barksdale Elementary during the school's kickoff celebration for a program designed to prevent bullying.

Barksdale Elementary is one of four schools along with Hazelwood Elementary, Kenwood Elementary and Northeast Middle to launch the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program this calendar year. The program is not new to the school system, though, as it was introduced in three other schools two years ago.

On Tuesday, a select group of fifth-graders helped motivate other students at Barksdale with a cheer. They also held up letters to spell out the word "respect."

Barksdale Principal Peggy Vaden led teachers carrying signs with anti-bullying messages on a parade around the students. Students cheered and clapped as their teachers made their way to the front of the assembly. First-grader Kayla Johnson and Parker Susong said it was "cool."

Pro kids Show host Scott Humston was on-hand, too. He got the kids energized when he came out with a water bottle singing a song. Humston entertained the students with magic and spread his message of having good behavior, learning responsibility and making good choices.

"We learned you should be kind to bullies, and they may be kind to you," Susong said about Tuesday's program. Each student will receive a bullying prevention T-shirt, donated by First Federal Savings Bank, and posters will be put up throughout the school.

Barksdale school counselor Stephanie Steinsultz said students and teachers will take 20 minutes each Monday to talk about bullying.

"I'm glad we are on the program, so teachers are more involved with its awareness," said Steinsultz.

Teachers will also keep a log of bullying activity, and with it, hopefully teachers can address problems quicker.