- About Us
Rockwell Elementary takes a stand against bullying
Growing up was not easy for Kirsten McArdle.
With red hair and big glasses, she was the target of a fair amount of teasing.
“I was very shy when I was a kid,” she said. “I didn’t feel I was as good as the other kids.”
McArdle, now principal at Norman Rockwell Elementary School in Redmond, shared her stories of being bullied with her students during an assembly Wednesday morning as part of Unity Day — a nationwide anti-bullying initiative.
With October designated as National Bullying Prevention Month, Rockwell is just one of many schools throughout the district and country working to spread awareness on the subject.
Fifth grader Giuliana Ernst said it is important to get this message out to all kids because bullying is just not nice and “not cool.”
At Wednesday’s assembly, McArdle encouraged students to report any bullying they may witness to an adult, but she also emphasized to the third, fourth and fifth graders in attendance the power one kid could have in stopping bullying. She shared how an old classmate named Rodney Thompson saw her being bullied on the bus — where the only adult around was driving and not able to do anything — and stood up for her and told the other kids to stop.
The two weren’t very good friends in particular. They just went to school together and lived down the street from each other. But McArdle still remembers his actions to this day and how he came to her defense.
“He knew it wasn’t right and he did something to stop it,” McArdle told the students. “You can be Rodney Thompson for someone…If it doesn’t feel right to you, it doesn’t feel right to the other people around.”
In addition to it not feeling right, Cruz Fernandez just does not see the point of bullying.
“Bullying should really end,” the fifth grader said. “There’s really no reason to do it.”
McArdle also told the kids how they can make others who are being bullied — and as a result may be excluded from things — feel more included. She told them that just asking someone to play with them or inviting them to eat lunch at their table could grow into a great friendship.
Fifth grader Cody Becker agreed, saying they were all a team and they need to work together and be friends.
Mike Dowd, crime prevention officer for the Redmond Police Department (RPD) also spoke at the assembly.
“Bullying is a big deal with the police,” he told the students.
Dowd discussed how kids who are bullied throughout their lives have a tendency to act out because they are not treated right and how those who bully others continue to do so throughout their lives if they are not asked to stop.
The main focus of Dowd’s presentation was respect and how important it is for people to treat others and themselves with respect. He suggested the students think of the golden rule and treat others as they would want to be treated — and how they would want their families treated.
As part of Rockwell’s anti-bullying efforts, McArdle also posted a Unity Day banner out on the playground during recess and encouraged the students to write suggestions on how they could stop bullying.
“You do have the power to stop it,” she told the students. “One kid can make a difference.”