North Point par­tic­i­pates in walk for Unity Day 2018

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By JOHNATHON CLINKSCALES jclinkscales@somd­news.com

In ob­ser­vance of Na­tional Bul­ly­ing Preven­tion Month, North Point High School’s Teacher Academy of Mary­land pro­gram held a stu­dent-led walk for Unity Day 2018 on Oct. 24 in Wal­dorf as part of anti-bul­ly­ing week.

More than three dozen stu­dents par­tic­i­pated in the walk which took place out­side. Sev­eral mem­bers of the march­ing band formed a small drum­line as they slowly led their peers around the school’s track, play­ing loud tunes with their drums and cym­bals.

“The pur­pose of to­day was to have a walk to stand against bul­ly­ing and to also pro­mote in­clu­sive­ness and com­mu­nity amongst all cul­tures and di­ver­si­ties,” said Chris­tine Paul, an ad­min­is­tra­tive in­tern at North Point. “Just with our stu­dent pop­u­la­tion here and for the school sys­tem as a whole, our motto this year is to choose kind­ness. We were hop­ing that the unity walk pro­motes those val­ues.”

Ac­cord­ing to StopBul­ly­ing.gov, kind­ness is one of the most sig­nif­i­cant con­trib­u­tors to a pos­i­tive school cli­mate. Bul­ly­ing preven­tion at school starts with es­tab­lish­ing and en­forc­ing rules or poli­cies that de­scribe how stu­dents are ex­pected to treat each other, and by us­ing lessons and ac­tiv­i­ties to help stu­dents learn about their roles and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

“This is the [stu­dents’] project for the year un­der the Teacher Academy of Mary­land [pro­gram],” Paul said. “The stu­dents recre­ated and signed posters all week to show off their pride. We’re just hop­ing to sprin­kle a lit­tle kind­ness and achieve some­thing with this walk.”

Although there are no fed­eral man­dates for bul­ly­ing cur­ric­ula or staff train­ing, StopBul­ly­ing. gov ad­vises that all school staff need to be trained on what bul­ly­ing is, what the school’s poli­cies and rules are and how to en­force those rules. In ad­di­tion, train­ing can be suc­cess­ful when staff are en­gaged in

de­vel­op­ing mes­sages and con­tent, espe­cially when they feel that their voices are be­ing heard.

“We all need to work to­gether to make sure that the rights of all adults and stu­dents are up­held, and that we work to­gether as a team whether it be in the class­room or in the com­mu­nity,” Teacher Academy Pro­gram in­struc­tor Deb­bie Davis said. “We have done this for the past three years so ev­ery year has looked a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent, de­pend­ing on what the stu­dents felt would be most pow­er­ful to get the mes­sage across.

For se­nior Katie Vol­land, par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Unity Day walk was a mean­ing­ful ex­pe­ri­ence that she is glad to have done with her peers.

“I think that it is im­por­tant be­cause when peo­ple un­der­stood what it was about, we got more kids to join be­cause it is not just a nor­mal thing. We want to pre­vent bul­ly­ing,” Vol­land said. “We wanted to make sure more peo­ple wanted to be part of it.”

STAFF PHOTO BY JOHNATHON CLINKSCALES

Stu­dent mem­bers of North Point High School’s march­ing band and Teacher Academy of Mary­land pro­gram par­tic­i­pate in a Unity Day walk on Oct. 24 in Wal­dorf as part of Anti-Bul­ly­ing Week 2018 for Na­tional Bul­ly­ing Preven­tion Month.

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