LANCASTER – As part of Westside Union School District’s anti-bullying week, Sundown Elementary School held a “Not in Our School” assembly Friday morning.
Each class created a paper chain using strips of paper with kind words written on them, and then the entire school gathered to connect the chains and create one “Chain of Kindness,” to be displayed at the school.
The assembly was the culminating event of the school’s participation in a District-wide, anti-bullying effort this week.
“It’s important to the Westside Union School District that we not only provide academically, but also that we produce decent human beings who care about others,” said Principal James Norris. “Bullying will not be tolerated at Westside; not by the Board of Trustees, the superintendent or the students. This Not in Our School week of activities helped the kids understand the importance of being kind and helping others feel included.”
Westside’s Not in Our School program required each school to recruit Student Ambassadors who would spearhead the anti-bullying effort. Sundown’s 25 Student Ambassadors were nominated by teachers for their strong leadership skills and positive influence over their peers.
The Not in Our School week had a very personal meaning for Liannah, a 5th grade Student Ambassador. “I was bullied when I first got my braces on,” she said, with tears welling up in her eyes. “I’m almost into tears because bullying is such a big deal. If you ever get bullied, it’s sad and it makes you feel bad.”
Sundown Elementary’s Student Ambassadors spent the week contributing to the anti-bullying effort by creating posters with positive messages, representing Sundown at the Lancaster City Council meeting where the “Not in Our Town” proclamation was read, and going into classrooms to read friendship stories to the younger grades.
One of the bigger Student Ambassador projects this year is a video about how to be an “upstander” and help everyone feel included and befriended. This video will be shared in classrooms after the Thanksgiving Break.
“Westside began this anti-bullying program in 2010 when statistics showed that only 62% of students felt safe at their school campus,” said superintendent Regina Rossall. “After the Not in Our School program that year, follow-up evaluations concluded that 92% of students felt safe at school. Obviously, this effort is very important to Westside and to our students. We are committed to making sure we provide an environment in which students always feel safe.”
For more information about the Not in Our School activities, contact the Westside Union School District office at 661-722-0716.