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Elks Lodge Sponsors Bullying Prevention Training

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During the months of May and June the Susanville Elks Lodge sponsored bullying prevention training for students of the Lassen After School program as part of a grant from the National Elks Foundation.

The Lassen County Office of Education’s Lassen After School program provides services to participating districts and schools including academic interventions, tutoring and homework assistance; recreation and enrichments.

Local educators Elizabeth Darley and Shelly Baxter presented a two-part training focusing on identifying bullying behavior and what to do when bullying happens.

Children grades K-4 were taught how to recognize a bully, both obvious and not so obvious; how to stop the bully; and how not to be a ‘bully bystander’ – or as Darley put it, how to be an ‘upstander’ – someone who doesn’t just let bullying happen.

Darley worked with 2nd through 4th graders using Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) to give them a visual representation of what to do when a bully is around. This technique has hand motions and can be more easily remembered and adopted by groups of students. PBIS provides educators with an effective model for reducing challenging behaviors, including bullying.

Baxter used two children’s books with the younger students. The first, Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes is about a mouse child who loves her wonderful flower inspired name until she goes to school and the others make fun because it is long and different. She learns to hate her name until the children’s favorite music teacher shows them the beauty in the flower name.

In the second, The Tail of Sir Dragon by Jean Pendziwol and Martine Goubault, three bullies question whether a dragon should be playing knights until the dragon becomes the bravest knight of all.

“It is important to start talking about bullying with children as young as kindergarten,” said Baxter, “first because they already had plenty of stories of bullying to tell us about, but more importantly because to change a culture you must start before it is completely ingrained, when children are still young. Elizabeth and I hope to be able to do more bullying prevention work with younger children in the future.”

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