SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – A school in Scranton has started a new initiative to stop bullying.
Four teachers from John F. Kennedy Elementary School recently took a course in how to stop it and came up with their own program to improve their school.
Stop, walk and talk.
That is the new way students at JFK Elementary now react when they see bullying or aggressive behavior.
“Sometimes people walk up to me and they just don’t leave me alone and I tell them to stop and I walk away and then I tell a teacher,” Kaitlyn Getts, a fourth grade student said.
As part of a pilot program through the United Way, four of this school’s teachers went through bullying prevention training.
They then brought back what they learned and instituted it.
“I was bullied when I was in elementary school and it wasn’t called bullying. It was just teasing,” school librarian Sharon Albert said.
A recent study found 23-percent of sixth graders in Lackawanna County reported being bullied at school, so this Scranton elementary school is looking to stop problems while kids are still young.
“I wanted to figure out a way that we can stop it, we can stop the bullying at an elementary level,” third grade teacher Nadine Zaccheo said.
Outside of the school, students have also created a rock garden around several trees. They have written positive messages about their fellow students on all of the rocks.
While the “Stop, Walk & Talk” mentality may seem common sense, reinforcing it with the students can help both in-and-out of the classroom.
“Especially on the bus on the way home and to school, people will think the teachers aren’t watching them and they’ll go and bully other people,” Brittain Banull a fourth grade student said.
Seventeen teachers in the Scranton School District have completed anti-bullying training courses offered through the United Way of Lackawanna & Wayne Counties.
That training alone could reach roughly 25,000 students over the next five years.