Both students and parents alike are speaking out against the issue of bullying in Londonderry schools. This has been an ongoing story that was recently brought to the School Board’s; that there is not enough being done about bullying in the district. A fifth grade student named Lily and her mother from Matthew Thornton spoke to the Board about her experiences seeing other students being bullied around her. Despite seeing the bullying, she also saw students stepping up to help others that have been bullied by being kind and offering support. Lily is an ambassador for the ‘I’ve Got Your Back’ (IGYB) program at Matthew Thornton. She is working very hard to make the program better.
‘I’ve Got Your Back’ is an anti-bullying and kindness movement that was started back in the summer of 2017 by a ninth grade student from Bedford. Lily has done her part to promote the IGYB program by making and hanging posters around Matthew Thornton for everyone to see. The core goals of IGYB are to promote random acts of kindness and lift others rather than tearing them down. With the help of parents, teachers, families, and friends alike, students are encouraged to get involved with their school and communities through sports, hobbies or other after-school activities as well.
A recent anti-bullying campaign put on by IGYB was the screening of the film documentary “SCREENAGERS” at local schools. The movie explored the relationship between students, technology and parenting in the digital age. It is also important to note that the IGYB program is a primarily student run organization. It focuses on students having the greatest impact for making a change. The program is currently funded by donations and every child who participates in the program receives a bracelet.
Chairman of the School Board Jenn Ganem praised the fifth grader for coming forward and is very excited for the concept of IGYB to be brought into Londonderry schools. “One of the things that I want is more students involved with the School Board and giving us solutions.” Ganem said. Board member Steve Young also praised Lily for coming to their meeting and speaking to them. “It is not often that anybody ever wants to come here or do they get the chance to speak. I am surprised and I appreciate you coming.” Young said.
Board member Mike Saucier also told Lily that he is a teacher himself at the high school level and it was very nice to have her at the meeting. “I like any idea that is positive and proactive and it seems like this message is all about trying to do the right thing before something bad happens. I think that is a really special thing. I’m excited that you guys brought that here today.” Saucier said.
Being a new program to the Londonderry schools; how the program will be funded is still being worked out, specifically whether the program will be sponsored or continue to run primarily on donations. Chairman Ganem said that the next step of implementing this program will be to involve the principal of Matthew Thornton and getting the PTA involved as well. Bullying is already on the School Board’s agenda for this upcoming year. The board has plans to take a closer look at the policies that are in place regarding bullying. Superintendent Scott Laliberte said that he will make sure that all of the elementary school principals are a part of the discussion going forward.