Children are taking a stand to remain bully-free at one Zachary school.
Kindergartners at Northwestern Elementary School participated in Anti-bullying Day on Oct. 22, considered to be Unity Day by the Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights’ National Bullying Prevention Center.
October was National Bullying Prevention Month, a campaign founded in 2006 by the Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights.
Traditionally held the first week in October, the event was expanded in 2010 to include activities, education and awareness for the entire month, according to the group’s website, www.pacer.org.
The organization developed the bullying campaign in response to bullying being historically viewed as a “childhood rite of passage” and that many believed bullying “made kids tougher,” the website states.
PACER questioned children about bullying and challenged them to care about safe and supportive schools and communities by wearing orange on Unity Day, according to the organization.
In Zachary, the kindergartners wore orange during a pep rally in support of Unity Day, school officials said.
“They yelled cheers during the pep rally and watched a segment from ‘Spookley the Square Pumpkin,’ ” said Susan Varnadore, of Northwestern Elementary.
The story of Spookley the Square Pumpkin is about a square pumpkin who lives in a round pumpkin patch world. The legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin delivers a message of tolerance and kindness in a fun format that is easily grasped by young students, according to the PACER website.
The Zachary youth also pledged to be bully-free by speaking up when they see bullying and reaching out to become a friend to others who are bullied, school leaders said.
They also were reminded to be kind every day, district officials added.
In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Department of Education released the first federal uniform definition of bullying for research and surveillance.
Core elements of the definition include: unwanted aggressive behavior; observed or perceived power imbalance; and repetition of behaviors or high likelihood of repetition, the CDC and DOE definition states.
Direct modes and types of bullying — by which youth can be bullied or can bully others — are bullying that occurs in the presence of a targeted youth. Indirect modes of bullying are considered bullying not directly communicated to a targeted youth, such as spreading rumors, according the CDC and DOE.
In addition to these two modes, the four types of bullying include broad categories of physical, verbal, relational — efforts to harm the reputation or relationships of the targeted youth — and damage to property, according to the CDC and DOE.