The CNMI State Board of Education has endorsed Feb. 17 to 21 as Anti-Bullying Week in the Public School System, to raise awareness that bullying remains a big concern in and out of schools.
BOE chair Herman T. Guerrero signed the proclamation Friday in front of hundreds of middle school students and public educators and officials, expressing hope that the weeklong celebration would help heighten public awareness about the serious issues and negative effects of bullying.
He called on all PSS stakeholders—students, teachers, parents, and staff—to observe the week with appropriate programs and activities supporting the initiative.
Although it is impossible to totally eliminate bullying in schools and community, Guerrero said that just maintaining the children’s and community’s awareness of its consequences is an accomplishment.
Guerrero cited the daily news in the media about various kind of violence that are often witnessed by children and youths. “They do see and read those things and we don’t want them to emulate and learn from those. We need to work with them and continue to encourage them to stand up when they witness them,” he said.
This week’s anti-bullying proclamation is themed: “It’s time to ‘Stand up for character—down to bullying!’”
Throughout the weeklong event, each public school has individual programs and ceremonies, all aiming to raise everyone’s awareness on the negative impact of bullying.
Each day, an estimated 160,000 children refuse to go to school because they dread the physical and verbal aggression of their peers, and the loneliness that comes from being excluded and made the target of rumors and cyber-bullying.
“We must safeguard schools and communities for our children. And through recognition of the serious issues that face them each day, we offer our children an environment that holds promise and security,” according to the proclamation.
Anti-bullying programs are designed to help build school communities with the attributes of human decency and kindness as the foundation for a bully-free society.
At Hopwood, principal Jonas Barcinas shared with Saipan Tribune that students are expected to take part in programs such as skit performances and games that will all be related to how bullying can be prevented.