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Bully and boot camp are two words that may not sit well with many but Bully Boot Camp, which took place Thursday at Dexter Elementary School, was created to foster positive behaviors in students.
With the help of the schools Partners in Education 1st Battalion, 10th Field Artillery Regiment, and 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment students tested their mental and physical fitness.
Kathryn VanHorn, PIE coordinator and Read 180 teacher, said the focus of the boot camp was to teach students about bullying, leadership and teamwork. In its second year, the boot camp came about after the Department of Defense Education Activity began its anti-bully initiative.
Fourth-grader Michaela Williams said while the boot camp was fun they learned that bullying is not OK.
In the event someone was being bullied, she said she would tell the bully to stop and if they dont stop I would help the other person.
For younger students in kindergarten through second grade, VanHorn said they taught them what a bully is and how teasing and name-calling can hurt other peoples feelings.
But the school also focused on positive behavior through a concept of filling other peoples buckets by saying good things.
The event culminated in an obstacle course that simulated a real boot camp, VanHorn said.
Students (work) together doing relay races like Boot Out Bully relay, she said. The students will get points for how they cooperate and work together using teamwork. Also, they have a tug-of-war at the end where they have to work together as a class.
The relay consists of team members putting on and taking off military items as fast as possible in order to win. For Michaela, the toughest parts of boot camp were the tires.
You have to stand in the tires and jump through them and getting to the other side is difficult, she said.
Sgt. Jonathan Thomas of B Company, 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment, said their participation as PIE partners is a way for Soldiers to support the community and provide a positive influence on the children, through letting the children know what to do when bullying (occurs).
For more information on DoDEAs Bullying Awareness and Prevention Program, visit www.dodea.edu/StopBullying.