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School kids taught bullying ‘not part of growing up’

A TEACHER of the St. Louis University Laboratory Elementary School (SLU-LES) checks an antibullying exhibit made by elementary pupils at the lobby of SLU-LES building. RICHARD BALONGLONG/INQUIRER NORTHERN LUZON

BAGUIO CITY—A private school here has taken the bully by the horns.

For the second year, officials of the St. Louis University Laboratory Elementary School (SLU-LES) are leading a campaign against bullying and encouraging students to speak up.

Students, starting last week, have been promoting the campaign by pinning pink ribbons and displaying antibullying stickers on their uniforms and ID cards.

Allan Padan, SLU-LES principal, said the activity was the second annual observance of the antibullying campaign in the St. Louis University (SLU) system.

SLU, developed in 1911 by Belgian missionaries of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, launched its antibullying crusade through the efforts of Fr. Jessie Hechanova, SLU president, in January last year.

“We want the students to know that disrespecting their schoolmates is not allowed in school,” said Padan.

SLU-LES’ 2,750 pupils were shown animated films with lessons about bullying, like the “Ant Bully” and “Chicken Little,” or popular movies like “The Karate Kid,” “Matilda,” and “That’s What I Am.”

Students also wrote short stories and exhibited paintings and posters against bullying.

Macrina Barrozo, school guidance counselor, said the pink ribbons were inspired by Canada’s Anti-Bullying Day. Celebrated in February, it honors David Shepherd and Travis Price, two Grade 12 boys of Central Kings Rural High School in Cambridge, Nova Scotia, who led a campaign for schoolmates and friends to wear pink to support a Grade 9 schoolmate who was bullied for wearing a pink shirt on his first day of school in 2007.

“Bullying is not normal and it is not part of growing up,” said Barrozo.

“We should remember that bullying has bad effects, among them giving a person low self-esteem and pushing him or her to rebel,” Barrozo said. “This person will eventually bully someone weaker out of revenge,” she said.

Melchor Pablico, SLU-LES assistant principal, said bullying has consequences in the school—verbal warnings, a written apology from the offending student, meeting with parents and, in extreme cases, suspension.

Padan said they have not encountered a severe case of bullying but reports of minor cases have reached his office.

He cited a fight borne out of a joke. Bullying, he said, “should not be perceived as part of growing up years.” “Bullying, in all forms, should not be allowed and condoned,” he said. Desiree Caluza, Inquirer Northern Luzon

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Tags: bullying , Children , Eduation , Regions , School

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