May 6, 2014
By USAG Schweinfurt Public Affairs press release
SCHWEINFURT, Germany (May 6, 2014) -- Over the course of the school year, Army Community Service's Family Advocacy and Schweinfurt schools have partnered to bring a comprehensive anti-bullying campaign to our community's schools.
Beginning in October, FAP staff members joined teachers in the classrooms to provide classes on character education, the importance of identifying and reporting bullying, and prevention of teen dating violence for the high school students.
The campaign continued March 20, as ACS and the Schweinfurt middle-high school joined forces to offer a presentation of the movie "Bully" in the middle-high school cafeteria. After the movie, a panel including law enforcement officers, the Child, Youth and School Services director, the middle-high school principal, the middle-high school counselor and the Family Advocacy Program manager assembled to discuss the movie with community members and students who attended the event.
Finally, April 25 marked the culmination of FAP/DODEA bully prevention activities with "Schweinfurt Students Care" day. Students from the elementary and middle-high schools wore special T-shirts showing their commitment to prevent bullying. The day was inspired by Canada's anti-bully "Pink Shirt Day." The day got its name from a 2007 incident in a Nova Scotia high school, where a freshman was bullied for wearing a pink shirt on the first day of school. When seniors at the Nova Scotia school heard how the freshman was treated, they distributed 50 pink shirts to fellow students to wear to school to show support of the boy.
Schweinfurt students took the event a step further. Instead of simply purchasing pink shirts, students designed shirts featuring words from a "word list" of characteristics that build resilience against bullying -- characteristics such as friendship, compassion and courage. The colorful T-shirts represented students' commitment to prevent bullying and create a caring environment.
On Schweinfurt Students Care Day, Family Advocacy Program Educator Courtney Stephens facilitated a school-wide story time featuring the children's book "Chester Raccoon and the Big Bad Bully" by Audrey Penn. After story time, the children had the opportunity to take a group photo in the T-shirts they designed.
At the middle high school, Family Advocacy Program manager Sara McCauley and victim advocate Tracy McDowell celebrated with students April 25 by facilitating a signing event for "The End of Bullying Begins with Me" petition. Students were given the opportunity to sign this petition for the National Bullying Prevention Center and subsequently gather for a photo in their self-designed T-shirts.