Learning new skills to stop school yard bullying

Program gives local teachers tips

SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) - Nearly 20 local educators spent part of Thursday learning new ways to combat bullying.

A "Bullying Prevention" workshop was conducted by the United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties.

Teachers and counsellors are working to create safer schools in Lackawanna and Wayne counties. They are getting a lesson to bring back to their classrooms.

"I think it's really about kindness," says Dr. Nicole Yetter of the Innovative Learning Institute who oversaw the workshop. "It is about empathy, it is about spreading smiles. It's about spreading joy. It's really about creating a culture of connectedness and understanding.'

Consultants with the Innovative Learning Institute say the best way to tackle bullying is with education and understanding. Inside our schools, bullying remains a problem.

"As a school counselor we do see it," says Wallenpaupack North Intermediate School's Deb Katz. "We fortunately don't have a lot of it. But being here is a great opportunity to learn new skills.

Bullying isn't likely to happen in front of a teacher's eyes. Teachers say it often happens outside of the classroom, like on a playground. And the workshop aims to educate teachers how to encourage kids to be kind.

Dr. David Hall of the institute says "getting kids to advocate for each other, getting kids to be up-standers instead of bystanders is the goal of what we are going to try to foster today."

Through age-appropriate books, students in kindergarten through the fourth grade will learn how to take a stand.

""Literature is really a way to build empathy," says literacy specialist Alyssa Walloff, "with students and also teach students how to cope with challenges in their lives."

Teachers will leave with a bag full of books, hoping the messages will resonate.

The training was paid for by a grant through the "Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation."


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