2017-10-22 / Insight

North Branch Schools to participate in Unity Day: Together Against Bullying

BY NICHOLAS PUGLIESE
810-452-2601 • npugliese@mihomepaper.com


Seventh-grader at North Branch Middle School Emma Bradley has been working on a poster extolling acceptance for LGBTQ+ students that will be displayed during Unity Day next week. “It basically just says that gay, bi, trans, pan — we’re all human.” 
Photo by Nicholas Pugliese Seventh-grader at North Branch Middle School Emma Bradley has been working on a poster extolling acceptance for LGBTQ+ students that will be displayed during Unity Day next week. “It basically just says that gay, bi, trans, pan — we’re all human.” Photo by Nicholas Pugliese NORTH BRANCH — Bullying is a topic that has been on the minds of teachers, administrators and students for as long as schools have existed, but in today’s world, for every new method of communication, it can be a new way for bullying to occur.

Ultimately, the best method to curb bullying behavior is for students and faculty to stand together — which is why North Branch Area Schools (NBAS) will be participating in Unity Day: Together Against Bullying.

On Wednesday (Oct. 25), NBAS faculty will wear the distinctive orange-colored shirts representing their participation in the national bullying prevention day. “All of the staff was given an option to buy an orange shirt that states ‘A World Without Bullying,’ and most did,” said

North Branch High School Counselor Amy Hyrman. “North Branch staff will stand united on October 25 as part of #UnityDay2017, a campaign to end bullying. We will encourage our students to wear orange and talk about what it means to oppose bullying and spread kindness.”

Unity Day is a national event lead by Pacer.org’s National Bullying Prevention Center (NBPC). Founded in 2006, the NBPC’s mission is to lead the social change that says that bullying is no longer considered an accepted childhood rite of passage. Even today, one of every five students reports being bullied, and the NBPC aims to promote conversation, education and events designed to eradicate bullying from schools across the country.

The NBAS staff will be wearing the orange shirts to mark their participation in the event, which coincides with October being designated National Bullying Prevention Month. Every year, more organizations participate, and 2017 expects hundreds of schools, major corporations and other groups to be involved.

Bullying is something that is taken extremely seriously at NBAS, said North Branch Middle School Principal Cindy Howe. “We have a zero tolerance policy here for bullying. It’s as stringent as vandalism, setting fires,” she said. “Any time there is alleged bullying, both parties go through one-on-ones with our counselor.”

According to Howe, being involved in Unity Day, and National Bullying Prevention Month, is a no-brainer. And it’s not just faculty getting involved, said assistant principal Bill Barkowska — the students are adopting the movement as well.

“Unity Day is just a chance for kids to come together and stand up to bullying,” he said. “It’s self-driven, we didn’t promote it, we just had students come up to us and ask to do something for it.”

According to Barkowska, it’s the students that are leading the charge in making North Branch Middle School a kinder, more inclusive and accepting facility. He said some students, like seventh-grader Emma Bradley, volunteered to make posters commemorating the event that will be displayed in the school. “It’s about anti-bullying,” said Bradley.

“We’re all people, we should be equal to each other. We’re all in this together.”

Barkowska said that while events like Unity Day are special, ultimately they serve as conversation starters among faculty and students regarding the topic of bullying. “We’re all wearing orange for Unity Day,” he said. “But there will also be discussions throughout the day about bullying and being kid.”

Return to top

Copyright © 2009-2018 The County Press, All Rights Reserved

Click here for the E-Edition
2017-10-22 digital edition

Unrestricted access available to web site subscribers

Subscribers to the County Press newspaper can now purchase the complete online and E-Edition of the paper for as little as $5 for three months. If you want a six month subscription to the online edition it is $10 and a full year can be purchased for $20.

Non-subscribers can sign up for the online version for $15 for three months, $30 for six months and $60 for an annual subscription.