GREENVILLE – The message was simple: Be a good buddy, not a bully! Nine teams of Edison State Darke County Fundamentals of Communications students went to four school districts, plus the Greenville Public Library, in December to talk to youth and adults about the rapidly increasing problem of bullying.
“Every one of you has experienced or seen bullying at one time or another,” said one team after asking students three fundamental questions: Have you ever been bullied? Have you ever been a bully? Have you ever seen bullying occur? Typically more than half of the students indicated they had been bullied, about a quarter admitted to being a bully, and nearly all said they’d witnessed bullying.
The nine teams, consisting of 54 Edison State students, talked about bullying to nearly 400 students at Ansonia Intermediate, Greenville Intermediate, Mississinawa Elementary, Greenville Elementary and adults at Greenville Library. They spoke of the harm it causes and what to do if it happens.
What is bullying? “Bullying is being mean a lot,” they told a class of second-grade students. “Always pushing or hitting someone, or saying bad things to someone.”
Physical and verbal bullying is easy to recognize. A form that’s harder to recognize, but can be just as harmful, is social bullying. It includes telling lies or saying mean things behind someone’s back, or excluding someone from a game or group activity. The fourth form – and most quickly growing – is cyberbullying.
“Verbal bullying is most common right now,” one team told a fourth-grade class, “but cyberbullying is almost as bad, and it’s getting worse.” It can affect kids as young as third and fourth grade because of the Internet games they play. “It’s easy to be a cyberbully,” the students said. “Nobody has to know who you are.”
Students told adults at the library that signs that a child is being bullied include unexplainable injuries, lost or destroyed personal items, faking illness to avoid going to school, changes in eating habits and difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares.
Their message to kids if they are being bullied, or see someone being bullied, “Tell a teacher, your parents or another trusted adult.”
“Fundamental of Communication students at Edison State Darke County Campus have been conducting these presentations for several semesters,” said Edison State Darke County Campus Dean Chad Beanblossom. “I commend the students and their instructor for the time and effort put into these important presentations. As a college, we have a responsibility to serve our community, and this is just one example of how we are doing this.”
Edison State Darke County Fundamentals of Communication students use the skills they learn in the course to give back to their community. Their fall presentations are about bullying. In the spring their message is about drug abuse. Beginning with the 2016-17 school year, Edison State students also have begun tutoring struggling young people, kindergarten through sixth grade, in the Greenville City School District.
PHOTO CAPTION: Following a presentation by Edison State students, second graders at Greenville Elementary proudly show off their “I’m a good buddy” cards.