HAHASO is an acronym used to teach kids how to handle bullies - "seek help; assert yourself; humor to disarm bully; avoid; positive self talk; own …
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HAHASO is an acronym used to teach kids how to handle bullies -
"seek help; assert yourself; humor to disarm bully; avoid; positive
self talk; own it." In the program, if someone is called a name,
the victim should agree with the instigator, leading to a loss of
power for the bully.
By By: Nicole Osborn
HAHASO and other bully prevention techniques are helping kids in
School District 38 learn to deal with bullies.
Prevention with D-38 is mostly taught at the elementary school
level. Lewis-Palmer Elementary School counselor Jerry Berg said he
used several programs in developing a bully prevention
He said he encourages kids to tell grown-ups if they are being
bullied and, by the time they reach the fifth grade, kids know they
can talk to adults.
Berg uses resources, including a book called "Words Will Never
Hurt Me" by Sally Northway Ogden, in helping kids learn to deal
with bullies. Berg teaches kids they have choices. The book also
explains that bullies have their own problems.
"If you talk to a kindergartner, they'll tell you a bully is
mean," Berg said, adding there is more to it than that.
Preventative programs within the district differ by grade
* Kindergarteners learn about social skills and feelings and to
be kind, safe and fair.
* First-grade students learn about appropriate and inappropriate
behavior and are introduced to HAHASO.
* Second-graders learn basic role-playing, friendship skills and
the difference between tattling and reporting an
* Third-graders learn refusal skills, saying no to things that
might get them in trouble.
* Fourth-graders have guidance classes on conflict resolution in
which they are taught to understand prejudice, anger and conflict
management, understand other people's points of view, mediation
skills and understanding rumors and cliques.
Fourth-grader Megan Roscoe has done role-playing and said it
shows kids how to deal with different kinds of bullies.
There are physical bullies who threaten to hurt people, in which
case it is best to assert yourself first and, if that doesn't work,
to get help.
For bullies who like to push people's buttons, it is good to use
humor first and, if that doesn't work, Roscoe recommends "owning
For peer pressure, it is good to avoid the "everyone's-doing-it"
bully and tell them what they are doing is dangerous and could harm
them, Roscoe said.
Berg has been teaching social and bully-proofing skills, as well
as conflict resolution for 17 years at Lewis Palmer Elementary
"I believe there has been a significant reduction in referrals
to me for bullying," Berg said. "I remember students telling me
when I first got here that they didn't know what they were doing
Roscoe said kids at the elementary school usually get along, but
she admitted having to use avoidance to conquer her own
"For kids who have trouble controlling crying and feeling bad
[when they are bullied], they need to assert themselves more,"
She said to help them do this it is a good idea to practice in a
mirror or practice with someone at home.
Berg said there are several programs in the school that support
the bully-proofing program, such as pride assemblies, which help
identify and reward students who have positive behavior and help
Bus drivers also help prevent bullying by talking with
"Good communication between home and school is one of the best
preventions against bullying," Berg said.
The Love and Logic Parent Program is one of the sources Berg has
used to help teach bully-proofing.
"The program encourages sharing power with students, enabling
them to make good choices and helping them be responsible for their
choices," Berg said.
According to Creekside Middle School Principal Dianne
Kingsland, her students are taught to show respect for each
other. For example, special education students are invited to
birthday parties of other kids.
The school resource officer from Lewis-Palmer High School
occasionally visits middle schools in the district. He briefs
students on bullying; what to do if they see it, and how to
recognize it, said Frank Pauciello, head of Lewis-Palmer High
School campus security.
At the high school level, freshman seminar is used to talk about
various issues, including bullying, he said.
Lewis Palmer High School senior Luke Lenski is a peer counselor
at the high school. Lenski said during freshman seminars, students
are told they can go to peer counselors if they have problems with
The program provides support to students in a confidential
setting, unless what is being talked about requires the attention
of the school counselor.
"Most of the students are very conscious about reporting
[incidents] when they see them happe]," Pauciello said.
Students do this through the Crime Stoppers program and by
talking to security officers, Pauciello said.
Lenski said the majority of students get along at the high
school, and he thinks there is more verbal abuse than
"I think Lewis-Palmer does an excellent job of keeping the
bullying down, and if there is a problem, it's discussed
immediately," Lenski said.
Berg said parents play an important role at all grade
"My advice to parents is talk to your children about what is
going on in school," Berg said, adding when parents listen without
judging, children are apt to open up. "Students who believe they
have no choices when dealing with bullies end up being bullied
again and again."
Contact Nicole Osborn at 719-481-3423 ext. 4 or
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