Welcome to the second article in a new series, Caring, Sharing, and Getting Along. The recurring column will be written by our social worker and student support leader, Mrs. Martsch. She works with each of our classes on a regular basis. In her lessons, she teaches social skills and strategies for working with and getting along with others.
In our first article, families were introduced to the SWAT program. SWAT is short for Stop. Walk Away and Talk to an adult. Article one outlined the steps your child is being taught to take if he or she is not being treated with respect.
This article will go more deeply into the role of the “bystander.” A bystander is a person who sees something happen. We are teaching Sandburg students that if they see another person being treated in a disrespectful way, they have an obligation to do the right thing. Here are the steps your child is being taught as a bystander.
~ If you see someone else being treated with disrespect, go to that person and invite them to join you somewhere else (thereby getting them away from the person who is not being respectful) or by using your own stop sign.
~ If that person stops, then you have solved the problem. Great job! You don’t need to involve an adult.
~ If that person does not stop, then you both go talk to an adult immediately.
Of course, we are telling the children that if someone hurts them or someone else, to tell an adult immediately. The “stop” process is skipped if there is a safety issue.
Mr. Kincaid and Mrs. Martsch have been visiting every classroom to teach and role-play these important steps. Students are practicing these steps in a variety of bystander situations. We find it helpful to think of these role-plays as being similar to having a fire drill in order to practice. If we practice what to do in an emergency situation, we are more likely to get ourselves to safety if the situation ever arises.
How you can help: Continue to have your child show you his or her “stop sign”. Practice situations when your child would Stop, Walk Away, and Talk to an adult. Have your child tell you what he or she would do if they see someone being treated disrespectfully.
In the next issue: What should your child do if someone tells him to stop? Thanks for your support as we continue to work together create a community where every child is treated in a respectful way by others.