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Raleigh Edison Academy Combats Bullying through Technology & Art

One of many kind messages on Raleigh Edison Academy's unity tree to combat bullying. One of many kind messages on Raleigh Edison Academy's unity tree to combat bullying. |  Photo: WDIO

Emily Ness
Created: October 23, 2019 05:21 PM

Fostering an environment of kindness, respect and inclusion, schools across the nation stood together against bullying on behalf of Unity Day, Wednesday. One of these schools was Raleigh Edison Academy.

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“At our school, one of the things we really believe is we want to prepare our kids to be good students, but we want to prepare them to be even better people,” Steve Ondrus, Academy Director said.

Ondrus said that before teaching kids to read or write, it is important to teach them to be kind. The school did so through a variety of activities including coding animations with messages that combat bullying.

“I made this thing for Unity Day. Its that Scratch Cat is saying, ‘Be kind its unity day,’” Owen Good, 4th grader said.

Other animations included characters and animals with similar messages about kindness and compassion.

“I used the color orange because orange is a part of unity day,” Josephine Franson said.

Many of the animations included the color orange. Students said that they hoped others would find happiness and encouragement in their final products.

“Kindness is like everything that’s about unity—basically like everything about unity day,” Franson said.

In addition to coding animations, students put together a unity tree in the school’s entrance. They decorated it with personalized handprints and leaves depicting a variety of anti-bullying messages.

“I have before experienced bullying and I know that it is not fun,” Arianna Garrett, 5th grader said. “We have made these hands here to represent the fact that we cannot stand bullying. This school does not do bullying. We just don’t do it.”

In addition to combatting bullying, Raleigh Edison Academy has stressed the importance of teaching kids to stand up for each other if it does occur.

“You know, if they’re not going to stand up for themselves, do it for them because sometimes kids are anxious about it and they don’t want to do it but if you give them a helping hand just to do it, they can get over that really big struggle,” Dylann Miller, 5th grader said.

The academy says that end of the year surveys have shown a significant improvement in bullying throughout the years and they hope those numbers continue to drop.

“Kids need to feel like they are part of a community, they need to feel safe, they need to feel cared for, they need to feel loved,” Ondrus said. “When that happens, then we can start teaching them how to read and start teaching them how to do math and start teaching them the other school type things.”

The academy plans to continue tackling bullying beyond 'Unity Day,' by teaching children that each of them is special and respectable in their own right.

"We're all part of one community, on different branches," Ondrus said. "The tree reflects that."

Credits

Emily Ness

Copyright 2019 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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