HIB Assembly Accompanies Respect Week

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Miah-Reese Govan, Staff Reporter

Students and staff members are working towards ending Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying (HIB) for a better learning environment at Winslow Township Middle School during respect week and throughout the school year, by creating awareness of the effects of bullying and the effects of kind words.

On Tuesday, October 5, a schoolwide announcement was made by Principal Stella Nwanguma addressing the sudden spike in HIB occurrences in the school this year. The issue was extremely stressed for the week of October 4-8, which is the school’s Week of Respect.

“Since they have been home,” stated Ms. Nwanguma, “they are adjusting how to be social and how to be kind.”

Teachers, which students spend the majority of their school day with, are playing a role in teaching students ways to use kind words. During Respect Week, writing prompts were assigned during ELA classes asking students about scenarios in their lives where students could use kind words to make other people’s days’ better. They were also asked about times when students said unkind words to themselves or others, and what they could have said in those instances instead.

Here at WTMS we really are seeking to use our words to build the community, not to tear the community down.”

— Ms. Breau

Additionally, on Wednesday, October 6, an assembly video was played during homeroom addressing Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying. The video titled “Divided We Fall” included a scenario about a student that committed bullycide, or suicide as a result of bullying. The skit featured students participating in bullying, bystanders, and family members affected by the student’s suicide.

”It almost made me cry,” said 8th grade student Eli Martinez. “I’ve lost more people to suicide than I can count on my fingers, so it really impacted me.”

Guidance counselors and other staff members in the school are also encouraging students that are experiencing HIB to speak up and contact a trusted adult. They stress the importance of reporting any instances of bullying, so that they can put a stop to the issue before it escalates, resulting in permanent actions that cannot be undone.

“We take Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying very seriously here,” Ms. Breau said during the assembly. “We would hate to see anybody’s schooling interrupted by having to have a consequence because they weren’t mindful of how their feelings were being expressed in their words and actions.”