POINT PLEASANT — An ongoing issue in today’s society, bullying can have various effects on both children and adults, and the students and staff of Point Pleasant Intermediate School (PPIS) are working to put an end to it.
While bullying can have many different faces, PPIS Principal Shawn Hawkins stated in some situations students may not even realize they are doing it. Reportedly, October is National Bullying Prevention Month and Wednesday, Oct. 10 in particular was known as “Unity Day,” where students were encouraged to wear orange as a way to show support for those who have been bullied. On this day, Hawkins stated PPIS students were encouraged to wear the color orange and they were also able to participate in several activities to help promote working together and communicating with one another. The games, emphasizing skills such as teamwork, concentration, and giving and taking focus, included activities like a ball toss, the cones, and a game known as Zig, Zag, Zop.
Through the ball toss, students stand in a circle and each person throws the ball to another person. The group continues throwing the ball, each time throwing it to a different person who hasn’t received it yet. Once the person who began the ball throwing receives the ball again, the students attempt to remember the order and see how fast they can complete the order again, reinforcing the ideas of teamwork and concentrating.
Through the cones game, a group of students line up and place their hands on the shoulders of the person in front of them. Then they must close their eyes while the person at the front of the line, with their eyes open, leads the rest of the group around a series of cones. Through this game, the student leading the line must be responsible for the students following him or her and the students following must trust their leader.
In Zig, Zag, Zop, students begin in a circle and one person starts by saying “zig” and they look at another person. That next person then says “zag” and looks at another person. Then, the third person says “zop” and points to a another person by fully extending their arm. The rules of this game require that only the person saying “zop” does the full arm motion, so if the “zig” or “zag” people do the arm motion, or the “zop” person forgets to do the arm motion, they are out. This game not only requires the students to listen, but they must concentrate.
As well as the teamwork building games, Hawkins also stated they had a poster contest among the students where they were asked to design a poster based on their own experiences and that can help prevent others from being bullied. The winners of the poster contest were as follows: Third grade, Joel Foreman; Fourth grade, Caitlyn Thomas; Fifth grade, Caiden Young; and Sixth grade, Caroline Foreman.
Hawkins further explained their efforts to prevent bullying at PPIS, discussing the Positive Behavior Support System. Through this system, PPIS is using four key points in their pursuit to prevent bullying. The four points include being respectful, responsible, ready to learn, and being safe. Hawkins also stated the school counselor, Charla Martin, has also been heavily involved with this effort and that staff members also work to incorporate these points into lessons, as well as serve as role models. Hawkins said they are working to have these points become the foundation and culture of their school.
Hawkins continued, saying they’ve encouraged the students to continue to wear orange on Wednesdays as a reminder to stay committed to these four areas and to serve as a reminder to work together and prevent bullying.