April 15, 2015
Teachers Talk - Bullying Has No Place in Our School
Kandice Nelkenbrecher, Teacher, Seventh-day Adventist Christian School, Saskatoon, SK

 
Hey, Goldilocks! Hurry up Goldilocks! Get your stuff together!” I can still remember the sting of those words. Words spoken so thoughtlessly by the older students with whom I travelled on the school bus during my first years of public school. “It was just teasing. We were just joking around,” came their reply to my mother as she boarded the school bus to enquire as to why her daughter was crying when she arrived home that afternoon.
 
Often times we shrug things off thinking it's just “kids being kids” and the “real world is hard; you'll eventually face bullying in your life,” but that doesn't have to be the reality.
 
We, the staff and students, at the Seventh-day Adventist Christian School in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan are taking a stand against bullying. We are working together to make our school into a “city of refuge” for all the students who attend and for any visitor who walks through our doors. The students are being encouraged by the teachers and their peers to become “Upstanders” as opposed to “Bystanders“. Being an “Upstander” means standing up for others and uplifting them with your words and actions rather than being a bully, putting them down, or being a bystander to bullying.
 
I was thrilled when our principal, Corinne Lindberg, instituted a new anti-bullying campaign in the spring of 2014. At that time, each of the students from Kindergarten to grade 9 signed pledges promising to do their part to stop bullying. We displayed their pledges on the bulletin board in the entrance hallway. This fall we have picked up where we left off and the grade 3 to 8 art class which I co-teach with Corinne has created a display of anti-bullying artwork. Each puzzle piece on the display has been individually designed by the students as personal declarations against bullying.
 
I am proud of each of the students in our school as they work together to grow in Christ and are becoming not only good citizens on this earth but of the Kingdom of God. We are heeding the counsel of Paul to the church in Thessalonica, “So encourage each other and give each other strength, just as you are doing now. Now, brothers and sisters, we ask you to appreciate those who work hard among you, who lead you in the Lord and teach you. Respect them with a very special love because of the work they do. Live in peace with each other. We ask you, brothers and sisters, to warn those who do not work. Encourage the people who are afraid. Help those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. Be sure that no one pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to do what is good for each other and for all people.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11-15 NCV)