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Oakes Hosts Anti-Bullying Speaker

By Mrs. Breker

Educator Chris Scheufele shared his anti-bulling message using humor and demonstration with students in five different age groups at Oakes Public School on Friday, Nov. 19.  Elementary was split up into K-2nd grade, 3-5th grade, Jr. High was 6-8th grade, and 9-12 students met with Chris. Also the Student Council and Honor Society had a session talking about their leadership role in the school.

This anti-bullying program was developed by Chris Scheufele, a former teacher from Omaha, Neb. He puts an emphasis on helping kids who are being picked on to help themselves and that seems to work better. Scheufele said he doesn’t actually like the word bullying. He developed his methods after years in the classroom and discovering that typical ways to reduce conflict between children didn’t seem to be working. Scheufele said Friday that kids can be taught that they are responsible for their own emotions and how they react to certain situations. They can be taught to react kindly and calmly if another kid teases them or leaves them out of something or spreads a rumor. Kids who mistreat others may be trying to be get the target upset or have been hurt or have hurt feelings themselves. It is harder for them to keep bothering another child if they don’t get an upset reaction, said Scheufele.

He described how one child he knows of who has special needs had been picked on by other kids. The young boy did some role playing with a school counselor to come up with things he could say to the other kids the next time they bothered him and to avoid giving them the reaction they were looking for. Eventually, when the boy kept responding with his rehearsed comebacks, the other kids gave up and left him alone.

Scheufele’s methods seem to help reduce minor conflict between students at school, but these methods wouldn’t apply in more serious instances, such as physical fighting or sexual harassment between children. The Oakes Community Tornado Watch Organization and the school helped secure the funds needed to bring Scheufele to Oakes School for the full day of presentations. Thank you for this opportunity.