New 'kNOw bullying' program to educate Western New York youth
Starting in January, a new bullying awareness program will launch in the Western New York area. The “kNOw bullying” program features a skit, written by Amy Jakiel, and will be performed by the Kids on the Block puppeteers.
The program will incorporate definitions and examples of bullying and show how the “Kids” handle each incident.
It is to act as a supplement with the new Dignity for All Students Act, a state legislation requiring each district to create an anti-bullying program.
“The legislation requires any school district to protect their students by prohibiting the harassment and discrimination of any student, reporting all bullying incidents that occur and enforcing swift and severe consequences for bullying behavior,” said Museum of disABILITY History Education Coordinator Brie Kishel. “The ‘kNOw bullying program … will help reinforce the message that students should become ‘stand-byers’ rather than bystanders in the effort to reduce bullying incidents in their school.”
Kishel said puppeteers will facilitate a discussion with students regarding the definition of bullying, types of bullying, tools and resources for students to use if they become a victim or witness and how to become a “stand-byer.”
“Student peers are one of the most powerful tools we have access to in our efforts to decrease bullying in our schools,” said Kishel. “We want to empower peers to speak up and stand up for others.”
Teachers will also be presented activity sheets and tips to reinforce the “kNOw bullying” message. Children will be sent home with flyers and handouts for parents.
“The anti-bullying initiative must be a collaborative effort between teachers, students, administrators, parents and members of the community,” said Kishel. “In order to decrease incidents of bullying both inside and out of school, people need to know and understand what bullying is and what they can do as individuals to participate in changing their own attitudes and engage in the battle against this societal dilemma.”
The new bully program will be available to any fourth-grade class across the seven counties of Western New York. The Kids on the Block disability awareness program will now be available to any third-grade class.
With October being bullying prevention awareness month, several programs have been scheduled to promote the anti-bullying message. From 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 3, a bullying awareness and prevention forum will take place at Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart, 3860 Main St., in Buffalo.
Kishel said the forum would be a panel discussion on bullying, with the purpose of creating an open place for parents, teachers and educators to talk.
The program is open to any parent or guardian, educators, principals, administrators, school counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, guidance counseling staff, special education staff, mental health professionals, PTA members and academic trainer.
Members of the panel include Dr. Amanda Nickerson, associate professor and director of the Dr. Jean M. Albert Center for the Prevention of Bullying Abuse and School Violence at the University of Buffalo; Bettymarie Sullivan, school counselor for the Kenmore-Tonawanda UFSD; Dr. Michael Rembis, assistant professor and Director of the Center for Disability Studies at the University at Buffalo; Frank A. Cammarata III, Executive Director for the County of Erie Office for the Disabled; and Kishel.
On Oct. 4, the eighth annual disABILITIES Film Festival and speaker series will take place. The annual event will feature the movie “Bully.” The film festival will take place at the University of Buffalo Center for the Arts on the north campus. A reception will begin at 6 p.m., followed by the film screening at 7 p.m. and guest speaker Jesse Saperstein, best-selling author, autism advocate and motivational speaker.
“Bully,” directed by Sundance and Emmy-award winning filmmaker Lee Hirsch, brings to scale the statistic that more than 13 million American kids will be bullied this year, making it the most common form of violence experienced by young people. The movie features five kids and their families and how bullying has touched their lives.
Before the film is shown, a trailer will be presented, giving viewers a highlight of the upcoming “kNOw bullying” program.
Tickets to the film festival and speaker series are $5 general admission and $2 for students. The cost of the bullying workshop is $5 per person, and includes free admission to the film festival.
Tickets can be purchased at the door, at the Museum of disABILITY, 3826 Main St. in Buffalo, at www.tickets.com or by calling 629-3615.