Keller students, staff stand strong against bullying

Posted Thursday, Sep. 19, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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From first graders to seniors and counselors to teachers, students and staff in the Keller school district stood together against bullying Thursday morning.

“It makes me feel good that we’re not the only school that doesn’t like bullying. All of Keller ISD did it,” said Jacob Trinidad, a sixth grader at Chisholm Trail Intermediate School. “We’re all standing against it.”

More than 37,000 students and staff helped kick off the Keller school district’s new anti-bullying program, called ROCK (Reaching Out with Character and Kindness), which has been a year in the making. Assistant principals and counselors led the effort to develop the initiative, which will continue throughout the year with student education and parental and community involvement. All Keller school district staff members received training over the summer on how to decrease bullying and harassment in schools — and how to deal with incidents when they occur.

Said Chisholm Trail sixth-grader Kate Franz: “It means that somebody cares about you.”

Zach Hlas, another Chisholm sixth grader, said, “Nobody wants bullies at their school.”

Students at all 39 Keller district campuses participated in the event and received green ROCK bracelets. Afterward, many classes spent time talking about the issue.

Nearly everyone in Sarah Walters’ fifth-grade class at Chisholm Trail raised a hand when Walters asked who had ever been bullied. Kids pledged to be “an upstander, not a bystander” and tell a teacher or an adult when they see bullying.

At Heritage Elementary School, students talked with teachers and Fossil Ridge Athletes for Literacy about taking a stand against bullying.

Fourth-grader Emily Paul said, “Instead of being bullied, just be their friend.”

Fossil Ridge High School junior Daniel Trutza agreed.

“Everyone in this school should be friends and get along,” he said.

The Heritage ROCK event was held in the hallways after a social media threat was reported against Fossil Ridge High School, which shares a common property. The two schools, along with Fossil Hill Middle School, were on alert until early afternoon Thursday.

While outdoor activities were canceled, school went on as usual inside the buildings.

Heritage Principal Christy Johnson said the school would be conducting ROCK events throughout the year. The school has a superhero theme, and each month teachers will nominate students from every grade level who demonstrate positive character traits for “Super Heroes that ROCK” awards.

Chisholm Trail Assistant Principal Jeff Harvath said they’ll use special lessons and district-made videos to keep the message going.

“Do you feel like a family today?” Harvath asked sixth graders Thursday morning. “That’s what we hope to have here. That’s what school should be like.”

Sandra Engelland, 817-431-2231 Twitter: @SandraEngelland

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