BROWNVILLE, Maine — Students at Brownville Elementary School had the opportunity to have some fun and learn important lessons recently as they and their families attended the “Calling a Name is not a Game” family game night.
The program, sponsored by the school’s civil rights team, Womancare and the Brownville Parent Teacher Organization, coincided with No Name Calling Week, Jan. 23-27.
During that week, schools and organizations across the country held activities to focus on the problems of students calling their peers hurtful names and to provide educators with the tools to launch an ongoing dialogue about ways to eliminate the problem in their communities.
School counselor B.J. Bowden said a fifth-grader came up with the evening’s slogan, “Calling a Name is not a Game,” and that all of the evening’s activities were “games based on bullying awareness.”
Bowden said the games emphasized “stop, walk, talk,” the bully prevention program used in all three SAD 41 elementary schools. Students have been taught that if a person is bothering them, they first should ask the person to stop. If that does not work, they are encouraged to walk away rather than confront the bully and engage in negative behavior. The theory is that walking away often will remove the reinforcement for the problem behavior and the harmful dialogue then will stop.
The third part of the lesson lets students know that if walking away does not put an end to the bullying, they should talk to a trusted adult. The program also recommends that if the students are in danger, the stop and walk-away steps should be skipped and they should report the incident immediately. The program also has ways to address issues of cyberbullying.
“The teachers say it’s working,” Bowden said of the program.