ARLINGTON — A local pizza restaurant has made a crusade out of stopping bullying in schools, and area school districts are touting their anti-bullying measures.
Jeanette Dushkin, owner of the Arlington Pizza Factory at 509 West Ave., is promoting National Bullying Prevention Month in October by having all of her employees wear “Don’t Be a Bully” T-shirts to work, and has actively campaigning against childhood bullying ever since her grandchildren began being bullied, one so badly that he had to transfer school districts.
“Kids can be mean, but that comes from society,” said Dushkin, who marched in this year’s Fourth of July parade on Olympic Avenue with her employees and a number of children to help raise awareness about anti-bullying efforts. “When there are elementary school kids out there who are being bullied so much that they’re committing suicide, we need to break that cycle. My sister is mentally and physically disabled, so she was picked on a lot as a kid, and I stuck up for her, so this is a cause that’s near and dear to my heart.”
In addition to her employees’ T-shirts and the large banners in her restaurant, Dushkin is using the Arlington Pizza Factory’s social media to promote National Bullying Prevention Month, through the store’s website at http://arlington.pizzafactory.com and its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/Pizza-Factory-We-Toss-Em-Theyre-Awesome/184666548227771.
While Dushkin would like to see such bullying prevention efforts expand into the schools, the Arlington, Lakewood and Marysville school districts each have anti-bullying measures that they want families to be aware of, and able to take advantage of, throughout the school year.
The Marysville School District’s website at www.msvl.k12.wa.us includes links not only to the district’s policies and an online harassment, intimidation or bullying incident report form, but also to the Safe Schools Tipline at 1-866-LIVE-TIP (548-3847), through which they can report unsafe situations anonymously and toll-free (the Marysville School District’s code is 164).
“Our message to both kids and adults is, if you see it, stop it and report it,” said Jodi Runyon, executive assistant to the superintendent of the Marysville School District. “If students or parents don’t report it, it becomes harder for us to respond to it, because we’re less likely to know about it.”
The Arlington School District’s harassment, intimidation and bullying policies are likewise posted on its own website at www.asd.wednet.edu, along with its HIB incident report forms.
Michael Mack, director of student services and career and technical education for the Lakewood School District, listed a number of their HIB policies and procedures, from the “Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students),” who spent time in school supervising and mentoring students, to the educational skits that ASB students present to assemblies of all grade levels.
“A number of our schools have the Taproot Theatre present their anti-bullying message through all-school assemblies as well,” Mack said. “Some of our elementary schools use ‘Kelso’s Strategies,’ which is a conflict-management curriculum based on the premise that every child is capable of becoming a peacemaker. Designed around ‘Kelso the Frog,’ this program offers nine options students can choose from to resolve minor conflicts on their own. Students will be able to determine the difference between minor problems they can handle and serious problems that require an adult’s help.”
For more information on the Lakewood School District’s anti-bullying policies and programs, log onto www.lwsd.wednet.edu.