Photo by David Colburn
St. Ambrose School Principal Sue Schmidt poses for a photo with fourth-grader and "Principal for a Day" Carson Hampton.
GODFREY — In its sixth year, the St. Ambrose anti-bullying march has “progressed a lot” since its start, Principal Sue Schmidt said.
“It’s important because we want students to know that bullying will not be accepted,” she said. “We want to help students not become victims and to stand up against words that hurt and to stand up for themselves.”
The march is part of the research-based Olweus program, sponsored by an Alton Memorial Hospital grant. The program, developed by Norwegian psychology professor Dan Olweus, has been implemented throughout the world and is recognized by the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence as 1 of 11 Blueprints Model Programs and by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration as a Model Program.
“We take anti-bullying very seriously at St. Ambrose,” Schmidt said. “We have a class meeting once a week to address concerns among students in the school and how we can work on them.”
School personnel also combat bullying by having students write in daily journals and employing an annual survey assessing likely bullying locations. A team of parents and teachers uses the surveys to plan prevention strategies.
Students participating in the march donned their class colors: the primary wing (kindergarten to first grade) wore yellow; the intermediate wing (second to fourth grade) wore green; and the middle school (fifth to eighth grade) wore purple to show their school pride.
Carson Hampton, fourth-grader and the “principal for a day” on May 6, said the march will help “quit bullying” as he walked with Schmidt to join the procession. Mayor Mike McCormick also joined in the walk.
“A student asked me to come to the march two months ago and of course, I said yes,” McCormick said.
“I think that the kids are really on board with it; it definitely seems that way today,” he said. “Bullying is a big problem in our culture, and I think it’s great that schools are putting a lot of emphasis on anti-bullying.”
The march was on eighth-graders’ final day of school and served as a message and reminder in their transition to high school.
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