Bullying: we don’t do that here!” Students in Ankeny’s schools are learning that message through Rock In Prevention during October, as part of the district’s on-going commitment to bullying prevention. The program, created by Pat McManus, is a unique workshop bringing high school and elementary students together for the common goal to prevent bullying and create a caring community.
“I’m super excited about this project with the Ankeny schools!” said Pat McManus.
Ankeny High School and Ankeny Centennial High School students were trained by the Rock staff to teach Ankeny elementary students the importance of academic achievement and how to be successful at school and in life.
“The high school mentors have an extremely positive impact on the younger children and have a blast presenting the program,” said McManus. “And if you ever want a person to learn something, have them teach it! There are intrinsic rewards for all people when they know they are helping others.”
During the program, students and teachers were trained together so that everyone knows what to say and what to do in order to confront bullying immediately when they see it. In McManus’ experience he’s found that once everyone is on the same page, dealing with bullying becomes much more of an automatic response.
“Students and staff learn methods of sharing encouragement, kindness and caring to reinforce that we don’t do that here,” said McManus. “You can’t prevent bullying without introducing positive behaviors that a person can put in to practice.”
The program is sustained in the classroom through follow-up guides involving discussions and CDs of the songs learned during the Rock workshops. The anti-bullying message is further reinforced with a family guide and CDs that go home with each student to help with family discussion and involvement.