“Some bruises are on the inside. Stop the suffering.” “Don’t be mean behind the screen.”
These are just some of the messages adorning the walls of Highland Middle School as part of the national Bully Busters Project.
Implemented by Highland substitute teacher Chelsea Wolfert, the Bully Busters program provides students with a variety of techniques they can use to avoid becoming victims of bullying. It also educates students about how they can help someone else who is being bullied. Some of these tactics include walking away, telling an adult, and intervening when a bullying episode occurs.
Seventh grader Kaitlyn Poluzzi said that she, her sister, and several of their friends have been bullied. “A lot of it is gossip, but you can put an end to it by saying, ‘That’s personal. That’s not a conversation you should be having.’”
When Wolfert taught a drama unit during Wolfert’s student-teaching experience, she chose the musical Wicked for its lessons relating to bullying. The Broadway hit, a prequel to the movie The Wizard of Oz, explains that the Wicked Witch’s fiendish behavior was the result of being bullied because of her green skin. As a former victim of school bullying, Wolfert can relate to what the students are going through. “I was this nerdy girl who wanted to make a difference,” Wolfert said.
In addition to creating posters that are hung around the school, Wolfert’s students also created a video that is now posted on YouTube. The video focuses on being positive and proactive when faced with a bullying situation.