Peer Support spent the month encouraging the Bishop’s community to examine our awareness of bullying and to remember that being kind to one another can reduce the chance of a student feeling isolated, hurt or sad.
They opened with a free dress day on Monday, Oct. 1. Students, faculty and staff wore blue to acknowledge World Day of Bullying Prevention.
Members of Peer Support created a “Kindness” video, offering viewers an opportunity to reflect on moments when someone showed kindness to them and how that made them feel. Director of Counseling Megan Broderick encouraged students “to share that with that person, whether it is another student, a teacher or a family member or friend. Maybe write them a note or email or even talk to them in person.” She added, “The benefits of practicing gratitude are endless and what better thing to be grateful for than a simple act of kindness?”
Chapel presentations given by Peer Support members focused on defining bullying and recognizing the ways that social media plays a role, and ways that we as a community can focus on acts of kindness instead.
The Peer Support bulletin board listed suggestions for incorporating such kindnesses; members also placed notes on lockers across campus with positive messages. The group is keeping their kindness campaign alive throughout the school year with special edition purple uniform polo shirts featuring “The Bishop’s School is Kind.” These shirts are available to order from Lands End.
On Wednesday, Oct. 24, the All-School Assembly was led by a representative from the Sandy Hook Promise organization, established in the wake of the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Mrs. Broderick explained, “This presentation was part of Peer Support's focus on Bullying Awareness and taking kindness a step further. The presentation was not about gun violence or gun laws, but rather a message about helping our students understand the importance of connecting with one another and how easy it can be for someone to reduce another person's feeling of sadness or isolation.”
She concluded, “Over 15,000 schools have partnered with Sandy Hook Promise in an effort to keep their students supported and connected and we are excited to be doing the same.”
In both the middle and upper school lunch periods following the assembly, students wrote more than “500 kind notes to their peers, encouraging them, thanking them and generally just being kind.”
The key message from the month-long program: kindness costs us nothing, but it makes a tremendous difference in our lives.