Bully prevention part of District 38 teachings

HAHASO and other bully prevention techniques are helping kids in School District 38 learn to deal with bullies.

Posted 1/30/07

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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Bully prevention part of District 38 teachings

HAHASO and other bully prevention techniques are helping kids in School District 38 learn to deal with bullies.

Posted

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.

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.

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 program.

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 level.

* 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 incident.

* 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 it."

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 School.

"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 was bullying."

Roscoe said kids at the elementary school usually get along, but she admitted having to use avoidance to conquer her own bully.

"For kids who have trouble controlling crying and feeling bad [when they are bullied], they need to assert themselves more," Roscoe said.

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 build self-esteem.

Bus drivers also help prevent bullying by talking with parents.

"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 bullying.

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 physical.

"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 levels.

"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 nosborn@ccnewspapers.com.

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