Playworks Junior Coaches at Siefert Elementary are taking a stand against bullying and establishing their school as a bully free zone. This action is the result of a series of lessons and discussions about bullying led by Coach Atoi, Playworks program coordinator at Siefert.
As a requirement of the Junior Coach Leadership Program, Playworks coaches include a bullying unit during after school meetings and leadership development training. When Coach Atoi began planning this unit, she wanted to do things a little differently. She chose engaging videos created by other elementary students around the nation that help students fully understand what bullying means. After watching the videos, the Junior Coaches discussed why kids bully and how they as Junior Coaches can take a stand against bullying at school and at home.
“I think these videos really showed my Junior Coaches what they could be capable of, and it showed them that they have the power to take a stand against bullying,” said Coach Atoi.
Inspired by the videos, Siefert Junior Coaches decided to join the conversation by creating their own anti-bullying message. They designed shirts that say "Bully Free Starts With Me" on the front and "Bully Free Zone" on the back. School staff supported this initiative and also purchased the shirts to collectively send the message that Siefert is truly a bully free zone. In addition, the Junior Coaches made their own music video, using a song they found online while also adding their own verse and twist to the original song titled “Bully Free Starts with Me.” Check out the video HERE.
“We made the video to teach kids to stop bullying and encourage others to make their community and school a safe place to learn,” said Elijah Johnson, fourth grader at Siefert. “I hope other kids learn that bullying is not right and if you bully bad things happen to other people that you think is funny, but it’s really not.”
“Since watching the videos and creating our own anti-bullying video, I think my Junior Coaches have taken the lead to stand up against bullying. They are more cautious with their words and how they treat others. They invite all students to play games with them and understand the power of inclusion,” said Coach Atoi. “I see them giving more high fives on the playground and giving fewer put downs and more put ups!”
“It is my job as a Junior Coach to solve problems at recess so bullying doesn’t happen,” said Dorian Hagler, fifth grader at Siefert. “I wanted to make the video to teach others that bullying is bad and making friends is good.”
Playworks is very proud of Coach Atoi and the Junior Coaches at Siefert. Their efforts demonstrate how to empower students to create a positive environment where everyone feels safe and everyone belongs, thus eliminating the need to bully.