Steering clear of bullies in Bellmore


Winthrop Avenue Elementary School third-graders learned how to be “upstanders” instead of bystanders at an anti-bullying workshop sponsored recently by Child Abuse Prevention Services of Long Island, said Bellmore School District officials.

Lisa Braverman, a third-grade teacher at Winthrop, welcomed CAPS representatives to her classroom for a two-day workshop on Sept. 27 and 28. The program, called “Steer Clear of Bullies,” focused on empowering students to create their own safe environments, teaching them about the various types of bullying and assisting them in recognizing bullying behaviors, officials said.

CAPS has worked to prevent bullying and child abuse on Long Island for 29 years. In his official statement on the organization’s website, CAPS Board President Brian Ferruggiari said members of the group feel that the best way to reduce the effects of child neglect is to prevent it before it occurs. “Education is the key to prevention,” he said.

Braverman said her class learned about bullies before the CAPS visit by reading “Jake Drake Bully Buster,” by Andrew Clements, for their summer reading project. The third-graders have also been engaging in role-playing activities designed to familiarize them with inappropriate bullying behaviors.

“Role-playing is a big part of teaching my students about bullying,” she said. “It is important that the students get a true understanding of how words do hurt.”

The CAPS workshop is not the only anti-bullying education that’s happening at Winthrop Avenue this year, according to Principal Sally Curto.

Curto said she has been visiting each classroom for a principal’s read-a-loud. During these sessions, she reads Kathryn Otoshi’s “One” because it focuses on taking a stand when witnessing or experiencing mean-spirited actions, she explained.

“Children need to treat one another with kindness and respect,” Curto said. “As educators, we need to take every opportunity to remind students of this and model it, as well.”