October is National Bullying Prevention Month; but at Mansfield ISD schools, the tools students need in order to prevent bullying on their campus are taught year-round.
Through social and emotional learning (SEL) activities, students are able to understand and manage their emotions in order to make meaningful relationships with others and make responsible decisions.
“From the time school starts, we start working on things to help students be more connected with each other,” said Michelle Sykes, counselor at Imogene Gideon Elementary School. “We know that when children are connected—and they find things in common with each other—they’re less likely to bully each other.”
Sykes said strategies like encouraging students to sit with different friends, start conversations and be kind to one another has made a huge difference in the school’s culture. She noted that students love coming to school more and behavior issues have reduced.
“It’s important to not be a bully because that shows everyone that you’re not happy with your own life, and you’re taking your anger out on somebody else,” said Fela Shoyemi, a fourth grader at Gideon Elementary.
Along with lessons to prevent bullying, Sykes said staff members are also teaching students how to tell an adult if a bullying incident does occur. She added that it’s important to teach students these actions at a young age because they’ll be able to retain it and use it in adulthood.
“My goal is for the kids to be productive citizens as they grow up and in life,” the counselor added. “I tell them all the time that the things that happen in the kids’ world, they happen in the adult world too, so I think that it starts at the base.”
Learn more about MISD’s social and emotional learning here.