Valley View hosts anti-bullying program

LACKAWANNA COUNTY, PA – Valley View School District students learned Monday that they are the answer to stopping bullying.

The district hosted “Box Out Bullying,” an interactive program that explained to children why they should not bully others and what they can do to prevent bullying.

Valley View Elementary PTA sponsored the program last year for students in grades three to five and brought it back after hearing positive comments from parents. But this year, the group added a second show for children in kindergarten through second grade.

The PTA had heard from parents and teachers who said children had been “picked on,” said Cindy Iyoob, PTA health and safety chairwoman.

“We just thought it was that important that we needed to have a bigger and better show,” she said.

The programs were tailored for each age group, with older students learning about texting, cell phone and cyber bullying, which Ms. Iyoob said was the “big thing” parents wanted. The elementary version brought the lessons down to the playground level.

Through skits and games, students learned to help others being bullied, include students who feel left out and tell an adult at school and home if they see bullying happening. The two performers – “Tom” and “Jerry” – shared their lessons as they tried to open a box that would not budge until the audience learned how to handle bullying.

Second-grader Hannah Carona said she and her classmates learned not to bully or pick on anyone. While she liked everything about the program, second-grader Riley Jones said his favorite part of the show was when the box finally opened.

The program also emphasized that telling someone about bullying taking place is not the same as being a tattletale. Rather, students would be “telling to protect someone,” said performer Jeremy Rubenstein, president and creative director of Lancaster-based Box Out Productions LLC.

“Feeling safe in school is something you all deserve,” he told the students. “It’s your right.”