It Starts with Respect
One of the first things students enrolled in the Summer Jam program see is a hand-written list of rules. The list is the predominant feature on the doors where children enter and exit the Oneida Indian Nation’s Recreation Center.
The No. 1 rule on the list for participants: Be respectful.
Summer Jam recently kicked off another session as Sean Morelle, known as on-air radio personality and DJ S-Dot, brought the importance of respect home to participants through his anti-bullying message. This message is vital considering his audience will be entering grades 3 through 7 this fall.
“You could be having a bad day. Those things happen, right?” he said. “But if you do things to the same person, over and over again, in a negative way and you intend to hurt that person either by hitting them or calling them a name, or something around those lines, that’s considered bullying.”
Bullying can take many forms, and can come from many sources -- from family members, a friend of a friend, even your best friend.
And the statistics are grim:
• In the U.S. it is estimated that one in four kids are bullied on a regular basis.
• Teens in grades six through 10 are most likely to be involved in activities related to bullying.
• About 30 percent of students in the U.S. are involved in bullying on a regular basis (either as a victim, or bully, or both).
Sean stressed the importance of getting to know someone before making a judgment, which could lead to bullying. He also advised the students to stand up to bullies by sticking up for the victim, helping the victim, or by telling an adult (parent, teacher, or other adult).
“Bullies bully because someone is different. It could be the color of their skin, or a physical appearance, or something like that. Or maybe the bully has no power at home, so instead they take it out on a person who is smaller than them, or weaker than them. Or they could be jealous of the person.
“But there are things you can do to prevent bullying. An 'upstander' is a person who does something to stop the bullying and there are a few things you could do... You can stand up to them. Take a stand. And reach out to the victim.”
This message is just one of many presented to students during the six-week summer program.
“The goal of Summer Jam is to teach the children skills, teach them respect, how to listen, all while having fun,” said Suzy Farmer, youth development coordinator. “Having S-Dot speak on a topic that seems to be dominating headlines was a natural for us. It fits into the special activities we have planned with the help of Behavioral Health.”
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