Kids at Walter T. Bergen Middle School will be taught the importance of respecting themselves and their classmates during the school’s annual Week or Respect.
The initiative kicked off Monday. The Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights, which Gov. Christie signed into law in 2011, requires schools to provide age-appropriate instruction for the week on how to prevent harassment, intimation, and bullying in school.
This has become more challenging with students’ increasing use of technology and social media to interact.
“Now students can be harassed through cyber space,” said Frank Verducci, principal of the school and the Bloomingdale School District’s anti-bullying coordinator.
Now, Verducci said, there is a degree of anonymity that can accompany cyber bullying.
“It used to be personal. You knew who was being the bully because he or she was right in front of you,” Verducci said. “Now you don’t necessarily know who your tormentor is.”
The Bloomingdale Parent Teacher Association brought in author Sarah Price to talk to students Monday about the seriousness of cyber bullying.
The Bloomingdale Municipal Drug Alliance, counselor Rachel Millward and Cyndy Hopper purchased T-shirts for teachers and students. The shirts have “INOK” printed on them, which stands for “It’s Not Ok to Disrespect.”