Some of the youngest students in Riverhead are coming together to put a stop to bullying.
After a presentation by the "Power of One," an anti-bullying assembly sponsored by the Riley Avenue Parents Association, as well efforts by members of the Roanoke Avenue Elementary School's anti-bullying club, students have been inspired to take part in "The Great Kindness Challenge," which takes place this coming Monday through Friday.
"Morgan Dunn, a fourth grader at Roanoke, inspired this project," said Shannon Kutner, a Community Awareness Program social worker. "Her inspiration motivated her classmates to join with her in this effort to prevent bullying."
According to Roanoke Avenue Principal Thomas Payton, several classes have signed up to participate in the challenge; a sign stating "Kindness Matters," hangs in the lobby. "Our anti-bullying club will facilitate signatures from the student body on a poster of a promise not to bully during the week. In addition, the classes, who are participating, are formulating ideas on what acts of kindness they can do during the course of next week," he said.
The Roanoke Anti-Bullying Club is made up of 14 students from Donna Verbeck's glass, who meet with Kutner.
"We play games in our club that make us think about how to prevent bullying and stop it when we see it in our school," club member Rebecca Siemers said. "Each person draws a piece of paper out of a jar, and then we talk about the sentence written on the paper, which is about a situation that might lead to bullying."
"We've also made anti-bullying posters and put them up in the hallway," Jackson Loper said. "It has really made a difference in our school. I'd say we've pretty much wiped out bullying at Roanoke. I've been bullied in the past, but I learned that if someone bullies you, be kind to them. That usually stops it."