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School working to prevent bullying at a young age

Dr. Sapna Parikh explores bullying prevention
Friday, May 30, 2014
The 4th graders at Springhurst Elementary School in Dobbs Ferry are fighting back against bullying, performing an original musical called "All the Same."

"The message is we're all the same, there's no reason to bully people because we are all the same," says 11-year-old Amelia Brady.

Bullying comes in many forms. Excluding others on purpose is a type of relational aggression, and the behavior may start as early as Preschool - especially in girls.

"Girls being like, 'if you don't play with me, I won't play with you tomorrow', 'if you play with her, I'm not gonna be your friend anymore'," said 11-year-old Ashley O'Connor.

The psychologist and social worker on staff say their entire school focuses on teaching empathy from day one.

"We talk about role-playing the situation - if you are in the other person's shoes, how do you think you would have felt?" says Clinical Social Worker Patricia Clifford.

The students learn tools on better ways to respond to bullying.

"When you say 'I don't want to be your friend anymore, what you really mean by that?'" says School Psychologist Alyssa Montgomery, "change their frame of mind to say 'I'm really upset by what you did' is a lot more effective."

Prevention is the solution - Coleen Sweeting demonstrates how when you are hurt, the damage done is hard to undo.

"They apologize to you, but you still see how it is still scarred," Sweeting says.

As members of the student government, these kids teach their fellow students to stand up for themselves and each other.

"If you see someone being bullied, you have to reach out to them and help them instead of walking past," says 1o-year-old Daniel Storck.

For parents, a tip would be starting a conversation with your kids to prevent this type of bullying, and promote empathy.

Tips on talking to your kids about bullying:

Related Topics:
education bullying Dobbs Ferry
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