Community Civility Counts to honor anti-bullying initiatives at World Civility Day
Community Civility Counts, with the slogan “Together we win,” has put a spotlight on anti-bullying efforts in schools since it began.
For the second year, Community Civility Counts wants to recognize the best anti-bullying work in schools at its World Civility Day events April 12.
We invite teachers, school officials and students to go to an online form at nwitimes.com/forms/community-civility to share details of a program or initiative that is working in their school, whether in Northwest Indiana or around the country.
We’ll recognize all submissions at World Civility Day and at nwi.com.
A panel will judge finalists in early March. We will present an award at World Civility Day to the school voted as having the most impressive, effective program.
Please consider submitting an entry because your idea could help others. The deadline for submissions is March 5.
Community Civility Counts started in 2015 as an initiative of the Gary Chamber of Commerce and as a partnership with The Times Media Co. It has expanded in many ways and has received honors including the 2016 Associated Press Media Editor’s Innovator of the Year award.
Chesterton High School
School: Chesterton High School
Location: Chesterton, Indiana
ANTI-BULLYING INITIATIVE (describe the initiative and how it works): Social Justice League: Promotes an open dialog of understanding, empathy, tolerance, compassion , advocacy and improved school culture/climate through regular discussions and out-reach programs. Social Justice League is a new student originated, and operated club here at CHS who holds regular (bi-monthly) discussion sections after school where members from a wide cross section of life at CHS honestly and openly discuss important social, cultural, political and other issues of the day. These discussions are driven not by a debate mentality, ie. a winner/loser, but instead by the necessity of understanding one another and our varied perspectives. Students involved in the club also take on leadership roles informally through out the building as conflicts arise, and seek to empower individuals and groups to advocate for themselves and to utilize proper school channels to seek appropriate resolutions. SJL ran a "mix-it-up at lunch" week in the fall where we encouraged students to eat lunch with others outside their traditional friend group in hopes that this could allow individuals to meet those of different backgrounds and break-down some stereotypes and thus, reduce bullying of our school. Finally, we are also planning a school-wide event for this Spring, to coincide with the World Civility Day to reach a larger audience in the building. Students are working to develop a program that is unique to our building, and empowers individuals and groups of all walks of life within our building to take an active role in owning the climate of the building and hopefully reducing the prevalence of bullying within our academic institution.
EFFECTIVENESS OF INITIATIVE (share results): To be completely honest, the effectiveness of this program and campaign is yet to be determined, as we are in our infancy stage as a club/school organization. We have had an after school event every two weeks, and roughly see about 1% of the school population in attendance, but again, the goal is to create a positive ripple effect of understanding that permeates out into our school community and resonates with students from all walks of life in our building. With our endgame being a perennial presence in our building, and working to limit bullying, and foster respect, tolerance, and empathy for the long-run, we have yet to fully leave our mark, but we feel the momentum is present to establish these foundations and make our goal, of an ever improving, growing and more tolerant school building, and greater community a reality! Our spring event will hopefully bring about positive change and also establish a lasting tradition in CHS of involvement with these types of commitments and initiatives.
Chesterton Middle School
School: Chesterton Middle School
Location: Chesterton, Indiana
ANTI-BULLYING INITIATIVE (describe the initiative and how it works): S.E.G.O. is the Self-Esteem Growth Organization that was founded by a group of seventh grade students at Chesterton Middle School in October of 2017. The group focuses on preventing bullying, educating their peers, and helping raise student’s self-esteem. The students meet once a week and spend the first part of their time playing a game or having conversations so they can build relationships with their peers that come from a different background. The last half of their time may be spent in many ways. As a group, students may write in journals about what is going on in their lives and how they are feeling, create posters for the school such as the anti-cyber-bullying posters that are currently being done, or work to solve problems and educate others on anti-bullying. The group works hard to not only talk about what is going on so feelings do not fester, but also educating their peers on the importance of being kind and respectful.
EFFECTIVENESS OF INITIATIVE (share results): Since the start of the group, it has grown to well over 25 members. Many students outside of the group are now aware of S.E.G.O. and are happy that they have a place they can come to talk to their peers about their feelings and what they are going through. Students are helping one-another because they have been helped and they are passing on the kindness. The students, not only in S.E.G.O. but building-wide, are realizing how they can make a difference.
Lafayette Elementary School
School: Lafayette Elementary School
ANTI-BULLYING INITIATIVE (describe the initiative and how it works): Description of Activity/Activities:
- Read-aloud: Chester Raccoon and the Big Bad Bully
- Students brainstormed how to be a good friend.
- Kindergarten students declared all classrooms to be “No-Bully” Zones.
- Students participated in the “Crinkled Heart” activity, showing how mean words can hurt a person’s heart (feelings).
- Kindergarten assignment – Do something nice for someone at recess and
- Do something nice for someone at home.
- Students viewed and discussed a power point presentation about bullying.
- Students participated in skits and role play about bullying during PBIS Training.
- Teachers and students established expectations for a bully-free classroom.
- Second grade teachers and student established expectations for a bully-free classroom. We collaboratively listed examples and non-examples of bully-free behavior and established classroom contracts for a bully-free environment. We discussed the difference between tattling and telling when something is seriously wrong.
- Teachers and students established expectations for a bully free classroom.
- Students participated in class building activities to strengthen relationships.
- Students participated in team building activities to strengthen relationships
- 4th grade will spend on week on the topic of bullying. Besides having multiple discussions in the classroom, the following activities will be done with the students:
- We will read these books to the class: "Jake’s Secret," "Trouble for Trudy," "Ben’s Bad Day," "Patty and the Pink Princesses," "Here Comes Smelly Nellie," "Henry’s Violin"
- We will watch these videos: "Anti-Bullying PSA: the Pride of Silence," "Stand Up, Stand Out: No Checking, No Capping, No Bullying," "Being a Friend," "Stop Bullying PSA," "Perfect," "Antibullying- You are Perfect"
- Both 5th grade classrooms will spend one week on the topic of bullying. Besides having multiple discussions in the classroom, the following are the activities we will do with our students:
- We will read these books to the class: "Coping with Bullying" by Charlotte Guillain, "Stop Picking on Me: A First Look at Bullying" by Pat Thomas, "Stop Bullying Bobby!" by Dana Smith-Mansell,
- We will watch these videos: "Are You a Bully?," "Help! I’m a Bully!," "Five Ways to Stop a Bully," "Don’t Stand By: Stand Up to a Bully"
EFFECTIVENESS OF INITIATIVE (share results): Since we have implemented these activities at Lafayette School bullying incidents have been greatly reduced. We also try to find resources for our students to help them make better choices.
Coming to World Civility Day? Travel, hotel and ticket details
We hope you’re marking your calendar to attend World Civility Day events on April 12.
The events will be held during the day at the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond and in the evening at the Avalon Manor banquet hall in Merrillville.
Tickets can be ordered through the Gary Chamber of Commerce. Call 219-885-7407. Tickets are $30 ($15 for students) for the day events and lunch and $70 for the celebration and awards dinner. Tables of 10 for the dinner can be reserved for $650.
Want to attend the entire day’s events? Purchase a VIP ticket for $90.
Sponsorships also are available through the Gary Chamber.
If you fly: Chicago’s Midway Airport is the closest, about 40 minutes away.
If you drive: Take the Kennedy Avenue exit off Interstate 80.
Suggested hotel: Hampton Inn & Suites Hammond. Special rates are being offered for rooms and suites using this link. Please make reservations by March 13 for these rates.
For more information, contact Chuck Hughes or Janice Bowden at the Gary Chamber.