Busting up bullying at Liberty RidgeLiberty Ridge Elementary hosted McRooney Entertainment on Dec. 11, which presented its anti-bullying show called “Bully Busters.”
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
Bullying in school is a constant issue at the middle and high schools and elementary school is no different.
“Name calling and hurting people’s feelings by not including everyone when they play,” said Liberty Ridge Elementary social worker Pam Rickers, “I see those as the two biggest issues at the elementary school.”
Liberty Ridge decided to take on bullying in a fun interactive way last week when it hosted McRooney Entertainment on Dec. 11, which presented its anti-bullying show called “Bully Busters.”
During the show, Ronald McDonald is in the middle of filming his “Big Red Shoes Show” in front of his live audience, the Liberty Ridge students. For his show, Ronald walks students through how to identify and deal with a bully.
The central theme is the C.A.L.M (cool down, assert yourself, look them in the eye, mean what you say) approach to dealing with bullying.
“It covers all the bases, it’s very positive and it’s very child focused,” Rickers said. “Bringing the humor and fun aspect into this real educational learning program is great.”
This is the third year Liberty Ridge has hosted McRooney Entertainment.
In addition to the bullying program, McRooney Entertainment has also done a respect program.
“We feel that kids are obviously gaining from this and becoming more positive,” Rickers said. “Hopefully the more kids hear it and the repetitiveness will help them use the skills.
“You can’t be 100 percent sure that things are happening less, but you sure hear them talking about it.”
In conjunction with the McRooney Entertainment program, Liberty Ridge also hosts a contest in its art classes where students create posters depicting the messages of kindness, being a good friend, being a good role model, working as a team, showing respect and other related messages.
“That has more of the impact because we’re following through with something,” Rickers said. “We’re providing a little bit extra.”
Liberty Ridge art teacher Tess Soucheray said the poster contest helps students visualize bullying, which in turn helps students understand it better.
“By seeing it visually, it helps them put themselves in that situation somewhere in the school or on the playground or on the bus,” Soucheray said. “By actually drawing it and creating a poster, they think about it in their head about where they might be put into that situation.
“I think the poster is a great extension of the presentation because it’s not just a one hour where they learn about bullying and then they continue on with their life as normal – it really makes them stop and think.”
For the poster contest, Soucheray and Rickers will be looking for submissions that demonstrate creativity, craftsmanship of work and unique ideas.
One winner from each art class will be chosen to receive restaurant coupons and then one winner from each grade level will be chosen to receive a Target gift card.
Since the contest is now in its third year, the school has also framed some of the winning posters and hung them up around the school so that students keep seeing the messages.
“It ingrains the idea of being a good friend and being respectful in our community,” Soucheray said. “Because it’s created by their peers, they’re more likely to follow through with it.
“They are more likely to connect with the content because they know the person who made it.”
Rickers and Soucheray said they hope to keep doing the McRooney Entertainment program and the poster contest every year.
“We hope to make it a permanent fixture here at Liberty,” Rickers said. “We want to be promoting kindness throughout the building and promoting being a good friend and including people.”