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posted: Mon, Oct 20th, 2014

Building character and preventing bullying

Students at Mount Olive Middle School are building good character. During the month of October, a variety of activities, lessons, and programs are being conducted to honor various awareness and prevention campaigns including the Week of Respect, School Violence Awareness Week, Red Ribbon Week, and Mix It Up At Lunch Day.

Week Of Respect                                                  

The Week of Respect (this year October 6-10) is an annual week of education that centers around the prevention of harassment, intimidation, and bullying (HIB). To kick off the week, the PTA provided a school-wide assembly from Camfel Productions to deliver the key messages of the week and month. Students also viewed the inspirational short “Matt The Film” which underscored the importance of respect, cooperation, and good character. The film is an emotional powerhouse about a high school senior who overcomes physical and cognitive challenges with the support of his classmates.

Student assistance counselor Megan Troup, who organized many of the activities of this special month, also provided MOMS teachers with a folder of lessons and activities to support the messages about the importance of respect and good character. These included various role-playing activities, editorial cartoons that kids could analyze and write about or discuss in class, and specific lessons about discrimination, tolerance, and supporting others.

“This age is such a crucial time for kids to develop awareness of all these issues, bullying, building empathy, drug and alcohol abuse…” said Ms. Troup. “They’re developing into the people they’ll be for the rest of their lives. They’re struggling with peer pressure and figuring out what path to take and what friends to hang out with. This is an opportunity to steer them in the right direction.”

Students were encouraged during the week to wear various items of apparel to support the varying slogans of the days. For example, one day was “Team Up Against Bullying” during which students wore their favorite team jerseys. On “Sock Out Bullying” day, students wore crazy colored and patterned socks.

During lunch, students also had an opportunity to volunteer to create their own respect bumper stickers and sign pledges to be upstanding members of the MOMS community who are dedicated to helping create a safe, caring, and respectful environment in school. The pledges and bumper stickers, more than 1000 in total, were hung on the walls of the main corridor. Catchy bumper stickers includes slogans such as Bump Up Respect, Be Yourself - Everyone Else Is Already Taken, and Live Laugh Love Bullyfree.

New Jersey’s anti-bullying law requires that all schools observe the Week of Respect by providing students with age-appropriate instruction focusing on preventing HIB. 

School Violence Awareness Week

Education law also requires that schools observe School Violence Awareness Week (this year October 20-24). Throughout the week, classroom lessons and activities during the 3R’s will focus on preventing bullying, peaceful conflict resolution, avoiding drug use, and maintaining a positive school climate.

A related Parent Awareness Program will be held at Mount Olive High School on Thursday, October 23 at 6:30 p.m. “The Perfect Storm– Battling the Prescription Drug & Heroin Epidemic,” will be presented by Doug Collier, drug initiative coordinator and law enforcement liaison from the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General. Barbara Kauffman, coordinator of the Community Coalition for Safe and Healthy Morris (CCSHM), will also be on hand to provide “Tips for Parents and Useful Community Resources.” 

Red Ribbon Week

Red Ribbon Week (this year October 27-31) is the oldest and largest drug prevention campaign in the country. It was created in 1988 in honor of Enrique “Kiki" Camarena, a U.S. drug enforcement agent who was killed while investigating a major drug cartel.

A few weeks after his death, a club was created in his honor. Hundreds of people pledged to live drug-free lives and to honor the sacrifices made by those fighting to keep our country and children safe. They began to wear red badges of satin and red ribbons in agent Camarena's honor. The Red Ribbon Week campaign emerged from these efforts and is now celebrated in schools across the nation. During lunch and the 3R’s, students will have the opportunity to participate in the Red Ribbon campaign.  

Mix It Up at Lunch Day

A national campaign launched by Teaching Tolerance, Mix It Up Day (this year October 28) encourages students to cross social boundaries and make new connections. For just one day, students will be asked to move out of their comfort zones during lunch. Numbers will be randomly assigned to students as they enter the cafeteria, letting them know which “Mix It Up” table to sit at for the day. 

An assortment of fun activities and ice breakers will be provided at each table to help students converse and learn a bit about one another.

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Mount Olive Middle School
160 Wolfe Road Budd Lake, NJ 07828
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Phone: 973.691.4006 Fax: 973.691.4029

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