Williams Elementary dunks out violence at anti-bullying program


Photo Gallery: Williams Elementary School anti-bullying program

PITTSFIELD -- Real-life superheroes visited Williams Elementary School on Wednesday afternoon. Their names are Valerie Hamilton, Tyler Trepania and Chad Shove, but they were respectively introduced to the school's second graders as Ms. Hamilton, Spider-Man and Superman.

Wednesday's visit marked the introduction of a new anti-bullying program developed by Hamilton called "Dunk Out Violence," presented in disguise as friendly, neighborhood visitors sharing poetry and taking questions anything from "Can you really fly?" to "What do you do if you're in the hallway in the morning and someone pushes you into a locker?"

The four-day program -- which includes drawing, literacy, self-defense and vocabulary activities -- was piloted last year at Conte Community School and is confirmed to be presented this spring in five of the six city elementary schools, with the exception of Morningside Community School.

Together, the trio of Ham-
ilton, Trepania and Shove did their best to deliver to students a message of the importance of peace, safety and non-violent justice.

Though Williams Principal Lisa Buchinski said the school uses a well-known, researched and practiced curriculum known as the Olweus Bullying Prev-
ention Program, Hamilton says she hopes her program adds a community-based component.

Trepania, a Berkshire Com-
munity College student who volunteers with the Boys & Girls Club of Pittsfield, says he sees bullying all the time. "Sometimes the kids just don't realize what they're doing," he said.

During the program, he talked to students about getting help from an adult or support from another student.

Shove, a neighbor of Ham-
ilton's on the city's west side, is the parent of three children, ages 6, 9 and 14.

"I was bullied as a kid and I want to make my kids aware of their behaviors. Every day it's a battle -- I have to tell them things like, you're not going to pick on your cousin or each other," said Shove. "Hopefully they'll learn that if they do get bullied, they don't have to be a bully back."


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