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Local schools participate in bully prevention month

Classes at Pinecrest took turns drawing kind words with chalk as part of the kindness in chalk” movement. (Submitted photo)

October was national bullying prevention month according to PACER, the Minnesota parent training and information center funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s office of special education programs. Some local schools participated in activities this month to bring awareness to the anti-bullying movement.

Molly Cirillo, a school social worker at McAuliffe Elementary, said McAuliffe participated in Unity Day on Oct. 18. Everyone at the school was invited to participate in wearing orange during the day in order to make the statement of standing together against bullying.

Cirillo said the many classrooms incorporated an anti-bullying message throughout the day through videos, role playing or another tactic. One class read a book about bullying called Bully B.E.A.N.S. and they ate jelly beans to go along with the book.

Cirillo said it is important to participate in a movement like this to raise awareness.

“(It’s important) to empower students to do something no matter what the role, to show that bullying comes in lots of different forms and there’s always something you can do to help,” Cirillo said.

Pinecrest Elementary recently created chalk images on sidewalks at the school as part of an anti-bullying movement called Kindness in Chalk. The classes took turns throughout the day creating chalk drawings with inspiration words like “You’re special,” “Be brave” or “Give someone a compliment.”

The chalk event began as a way to increase awareness of bullying for National Bullying Awareness Month in October. It was started by a Minnesota mom with a blog called MinneMama Adventures. The idea is to create messages that are positive and uplifting with the intention of bringing smiles to the faces of those that need it most.

Michelle Wirth

Michelle Wirth graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2013 with a degree in journalism and web design. She worked as a web content editor for a trade association before coming to the Hastings Star Gazette in 2016.

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