- Orting School District
Learn more about the Orting Primary and Ptarmigan Ridge Elementary November Anti-Bullying Curriculum
Victims of bullying in school not only have their self-esteem affected, but it could disrupt their learning, grades, and how they interact with other students and individuals throughout their lives. Research shows that bullying can start at the early childhood stages, which is why throughout November, Orting Primary (OPS) and Ptarmigan Ridge Elementary School (PTR) (grades k through 5) focus on educating students to keep their peers safe.
Both schools' overall curriculum comes from Second Step, an education program focusing on social-emotional learning (SEL) and problem-solving. According to its website, its content is based on decades of research showing that classroom-based SEL programs positively affect children, leading to stronger communities and supporting inclusive, equitable learning.
Also, Second Step has an anti-bullying curriculum for students in grades k through 5 called the Bullying Prevention Unit (BPU). Second Step's website says its contents reflect the latest field research, empowering students to recognize, report, and stand up to bullying effectively.
PTR Assistant Principal Nita Hill, who previously served as a school counselor for over 20 years, says BPU also teaches students to support kids being bullied and not be a bystander and watch it happen unreported.
"It teaches students that we have individual responsibility and power," Hill said. "A lot of kids assume that it's unkind to stand up to someone. This curriculum teaches students the opposite and the right way to do it."
The specific content in the curriculum includes teaching students that bullying stems from race, gender, and other stereotypes.
PTR Counselor Rebecca Edick says students unpacking implicit biases at an early age minimalizes bullying.
"Unlearning those automatic assumptions is important," Edick said. It's everywhere, whether we want to realize it or not."
OPS Counselor Megan Barbara says the curriculum teaches students to recognize the difference between bullying and a joke.
"It teaches the student being bullied to share how they are feeling," Barbara said. "It explains that the bully might think they were being funny and once they hear that it's bullying, they would realize that it is not funny and that it hurt the person's feelings."
Orting High School (OHS) Junior Abby Almont, who went through the curriculum during her time as a student at PTR, says the BPU Curriculum helped her become more aware of bullying.
"It helped me recognize it," Almont said. "I wanted to help kids and report it. It's (bullying) is portrayed in a joking manner, but I can recognize when it's bullying.
OHS Senior Trevor Bartlebaugh, another former PTR student, says the curriculum encouraged him to speak up for others thanks to the curriculum.
"When I got in middle school, I stuck up for them," Bartlebaugh said. As a senior, you have more responsibility for being more of an adult. You want to know what's going on and stick up for them.