Facing up to Bullying
Every school has had to recognize the problem of bullying, both face to face and over the internet. Though this has not become a serious issue within the small and supportive community of the Karafin School, the administration has been proactive in its response to the threat.
The Anti-Bullying Circus
Towards the end of the 2014 school year, Karafin students received a visit from the Anti-Bullying Circus. The circus demonstrated what bullying is and its aftermath. The Circus also introduced the “Four Cs” as a form of conflict resolution. The four Cs stand for: cool down, communicate, compromise, and celebrate. When Dr. Donow was asked if this circus was necessary for Karafin’s students his reply was,
“It is necessary for all students. Students need to know that bullying happens. They also need to know what to do when they are a victim or a bystander and whether they themselves want to become the bully. This circus emphasized the point to celebrate who you are.”
Not only was this circus helpful, it was also entertaining. The circus theme was emphasized by the performers and a lot of audience participation was encouraged and enjoyed. The comedy helped to get across the strong message that bullying is not cool and should not occur.
After students had received and benefitted from the message of the anti-bullying circus, another initiative was introduced to give each student a tool with which he or she could fight bullying.
Stop-It is an anti bullying program that was presented to students by a retired New Jersey police officer at the beginning of the 2015 school year. The idea of Stop-It came from a personal response to the suicide of a young girl because of cyber bullying. Stop-It is an app that students can download. They are given an individual code to report either their own experience of bullying or any form of bullying that they see. Reports can be made either to a Stop-It counselor or to a trusted adult of the student’s choice. The report is anonymous and safe. Students now have a safe haven to get support and other important services to help them deal with whatever they experience.