BULLYING — IT DOESN’T MAKE YOU COOL BY ROOM 22 AT RILEY AVE.
May 24, 2017 – Riley Avenue) The student-initiated anti-bullying movement in Riverhead elementary schools was the brainchild of Morgan Dunn, a Roanoke Avenue Elementary School student in 2012 who was determined to stop bullying in school. >
Mr. Daniel Casamassa’s third grade class (Room 22) at Riley Avenue Elementary School recently added their voices to this important effort to stop bullying in school and everywhere. Using a number of elements to drive home their message, this group of students and their teacher added an impressive and sincere voice to the message endorsed by all our schools, “Speak Up, Don’t be a Bystander, Forgive Others, Accept Others for their Differences, Include Others, Seek Help if you Need It, and We can make a difference”.
Mr. Casamassa shared with the nearly 350 members of his audience a poem, which he authored last year, renouncing bullying.
This was followed by three skits showing scenes of bullying in the cafeteria, on the playground, and in the hallway. Each event ended in a freeze frame. The three victims sat silently and alone on the stage. Their grief and loneliness was palpable. Then the scene shifted as their schoolmates demonstrated caring behavior towards these youngsters: a hug, a pat on the back, an invitation to take a seat at the lunch table or join in a game of catch, stopping to help a girl pick up her papers. They created a scene which will long be remembered by their audience. This was followed by their message “Bullying: It Doesn’t Make You Cool”, which they shared both through their song, “One Call Away,” and their posters that clearly spelled out their message.
Shifting once again, Mr. Casamassa shared the first segment (0:23 to 1:44) of a YouTube video entitled, “Bullying: You Are Not Alone” made by kids for kids. “Bullies can be boys. Bullies can be girls,” these kids intoned. The video clarified what bullying is and what it is not. “Bullying is not a disagreement between two kids or playing rough on the playground,” they shared. Rather, “It is when someone uses their strength or power to hurt or scare you because they think by cutting you down it raises them up. BUT IT DOESN’T,” they concluded together emphatically with one voice.
The class closed their presentation with a series of questions based on the information shared in the video, (e.g. in the United States, one out of every four children are bullied). The third and fourth graders in the audience, who were called on, received prizes for their correct answers.
Mr. Casamassa also shared a story with a strategy to stop bullying. When you see bullying happening, he counseled, like the boy in this story, ask the bully this question, “Why are you doing this?” He concluded with an invitation for his audience to join with his class and “make a difference” by taking steps to stop bullying in our schools and in the world.