NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - During Violence Prevention Week, East End School recognized the importance of character education and the prevention of harassment, intimation, and bullying. School counselor Mrs. Nicole DiVenuta and school librarian Mrs. Allison Longley teamed up to teach whole group lessons to each class during library time.  Lessons focused on what children should do if they witness or experience bullying, name calling, teasing, and other negative behaviors.

The fourth grade students were instructed on the differences between a mean movement, a conflict, and bullying.  Students had a discussion on how to appropriately handle each situation if it was encountered in school.  Our third grade students engaged in a lesson utilizing the book “One” by Kathryn Otoshi.  The students were assigned roles to act out as the story was read aloud.  It talks about a bulling situation amongst colors and no one speaks up, until “One” comes along and shows all the colors how to stand up, stand together, and count.  The message of the story is that one person can stand up and make a difference.

With the second grade classes, the focus was on the effects of bullying and name calling.  The students decorated paper children.  The paper children were passed around the room and were teased.  This meant they received wrinkles and folds.  When students received their own back, they needed to fix it.  This led to a discussion on the emotional scars that teasing and name calling cause, and what to do if you witness or experience teasing and name calling.

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In first grade, the story of “Yoon and the Jade Bracelet” by Helen Recorvits was read.  This story is about a girl who is bullied into giving her bracelet to a classmate in order to be friends.  Students had a discussion about what makes a friend and what doesn't.  Students also talked about how to respond to bulling situations.

Kindergarten students heard the story of “Mean Jean and the Recess Queen” by Alexis O’Neill.  Students were taught three strategies for dealing with a bully: walk away, talk to the bully, or tell an adult.

On Wednesday, October 21st, students were encouraged to think about a future profession/career and dress accordingly.  The message that day was “I’d rather be a ______ than a bully.”  Student came to school dressed as he/she would in that future profession.  It was a huge success.

On Tuesday, October 27th students participated in Mix It Up At Lunch Day as part of a national campaign that seeks to break down the barriers between students and improve intergroup relations so there are fewer misunderstandings that can lead to conflicts, bullying and harassment.  Students sat at different lunch tables and were encouraged to make new friends.

Said school principal John Ferguson, “Mrs. DiVenuta and Mrs. Longley worked very hard to create a program that successfully individualized each message to the appropriate grade level.”