October 20, 2021
Dear Norfolk Families,
October is National Bullying Prevention month. Bullying is a pattern of repeated, unwanted behavior that can include written, verbal, electronic or physical acts or expressions that cause physical or emotional harm or place individuals in fear of harm (click here for a full definition). Children who are victims of bullying can experience negative academic, physical, social and emotional health consequences and these consequences can be long-lasting.
In Norfolk we have a strong, research-based bullying prevention curriculum that is taught from Kindergarten through Grade 6. Students actively learn how to identify, report and refuse bullying and how to distinguish between bullying and mean behavior. They also learn about the roles different parties play in bullying situations including bullies, eggers and bystanders. A focus of the curriculum is to teach students how to be allies and to help them develop prosocial skills to promote healthy relationships. In the upper grades students also learn about the definition and dangers of cyberbullying.
Today students and staff members district-wide participated in Unity Day. Unity Day is an annual event held during National Bullying Prevention month designed to raise awareness of bullying behavior and the significant harm that it causes. The goal of Unity Day is to increase students' focus on kindness, acceptance and inclusion to promote healthier school communities and prevent childhood bullying. Students and Staff members were encouraged to wear orange in recognition of Unity Day because orange is known as the color of safety and protection.
Students at the H. Olive Day School participated in classroom lessons today to explore the themes of Unity Day. With the support of the school adjustment counselor, teachers and students discussed topics such as “How can you make someone else feel welcome at school?” At the Freeman-Kennedy, students have been participating throughout the week in grade level assemblies focused on bullying prevention and being a good school and classroom citizen. Students at both schools worked to create Unity Day murals that were hung in main hallways and entrance ways. These murals will continue to serve as a visual reminder of the importance of kindness, caring and empathy.
The mission of the Norfolk Public Schools is to offer a safe, joyful and challenging learning environment that meets the needs of our diverse students. Our top priority is to work to ensure that all students feel welcomed, respected and valued as members of our classroom and school communities. Unity Day provided an opportunity for all of us to come together to acknowledge and reflect on the importance of maintaining a safe and inclusive school climate. The key concepts and skills highlighted through Unity Day will continue to be developed and reinforced throughout the school year.
If you are interested in learning more about Unity Day or in accessing additional resources to talk about bullying prevention with your child, click on the links below.
Ingrid N. Allardi