Back in October, No Bully began a student pilot program at Goff Junior High School in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, to help students and faculty eradicate bullying through our 90% effective solution based coaching curriculum. Woven into this curriculum we added another dimension where older students became mentors to incoming middle schoolers. With the help of the school’s Principal, Assistant Principal, and an impassioned retired Math teacher (volunteering his time to spearhead this effort), we were able to get our first ever Student Buddy pilot program off the ground and running!
We first met with 7th and 8th graders who were interested in becoming buddies for incoming 6th graders. These students were leaders at the school who cared about others well being, showed empathy, and wanted to make a difference in their peers lives. We did a ton of fun activities with them including going over our kindness curriculum and playing rock paper scissors tournaments. We guided them how to have difficult conversations with their peers and how to redirect behaviors while also learning and understanding the difference between bullying, conflict, and harassment. The students created real world scenarios that they might encounter on a daily basis and practiced interruption techniques. We wrapped up the morning with all of the students building a peace chain Each student created their link with wrote a visual word or drew a word or picture of what it means to be be kind or to be an upstander.
The 6th graders then created their own peace chain and added it to their buddies, hanging it from the ceiling of the cafeteria. The goal was that everyone in the school would then create a link and continue building kindness in the school. The chain ultimately got too big (which is a GOOD thing...that’s a lot of kindness!), so they are trying to find a forever home for it. We then paired the 7th and 8th grade “buddies” up with their 6th grade “buds,” and formed a kindness leadership alliance. Initially, 32 buds were paired up and since the program has started more and more have joined the movement! Students are stepping up and wanting to be leaders for the younger kids.
The buddies shared their knowledge of what bullying is to the 6th graders and discussed what it means to be an upstander by watching the anti bullying PSA (public service announcement) No Bully made with Burger King. They discussed how being an upstander not only encompasses kindness but also lots of bravery. All of this exciting work culminated in a schoolwide Peace Summit in December. The student buddies shared with the whole school the definitions of bullying, conflict and harassment and how to interrupt disrespectful behavior, when they feel safe to do so. They shared how to report to an adult. Our facilitator went around the room and asked students to give examples of when they exhibited bravery and were upstanders. Participating kids got a pair of free No Bully socks! At lunch time, the students each read and signed a pledge of kindness to one another and to the school community. The summit concluded with the buddies giving Goff pride anti bullying wristbands to their buds. The students, facilitators, and administration were so moved by this experience. If you would like to learn how to bring the No Bully System and Peace Summits to your school please contact [email protected].