GONZALES — Fairview Middle School students, Gonzales High School students and preschoolers all marched down Fifth Street last week to rally against bullying.
The March Against Bullying event Oct. 11 was the first of its kind involving Gonzales students.
The event started when Harmony at Home implemented the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program in January.
The Olweus program is a comprehensive approach that includes schoolwide, classroom, individual and community components, focusing on long-term change that creates a safe and positive school climate.
“The first thing that we did when we started was train a leadership team of staff and parents, leading the way of everything bullying prevention related,” said Bullying Prevention Co-Manager Sarah Behm.
The Bullying Prevention Team worked with staff at Fairview and have been conducting classroom meetings weekly to talk about bullying prevention strategies.
According to Behm, the team asks students about their feelings on bullying, talk about bullying scenarios taking place and how students can respond to bullying.
“Our leadership team really wanted to do something big in the community because they felt like Gonzales used to have a tight-knit community feel and wanted to reach out to the community in a big way,” Behm said.
Over the past few months, the leadership team has been speaking with businesses across town, the Chamber of Commerce and the School Board, and more than 30 businesses signed up to be partnered with a class. Once partnered with a business, the students designed a poster to represent the business logo along with a bullying prevention message.
“Luigi’s Restaurant had their logo had ‘Boot Out Bullying’ because the country of Italy is like a boot,” explained Behm. “Pacheco’s Ice Cream had ‘Scoop Out Bullying.’”
Chualar School District also participated in the march and is planning to have one of its own later this year.