LICAB Executive Director Joe Salamone confers with Sayville Student Services Director Jillian Makris
Taking Bullying by the Horns
Within Sayville School District, motivational speakers and antibullying programs that address the social-emotional needs of students are not new. However, this year, a new initiative—Sayville STRIDES—will focus on attributes that support our students’ social and emotional growth and which are “integral to their personal happiness and success. These are S elf-esteem, T rust, R esiliency, I ndependence, D iversity, E mpathy, S trength,” as the newly appointed Student Services Director Jillian Makris posted on her website. This themed approach during the academic year will keep these core values in the spotlight.
To launch this new initiative, Student Services arranged for a visit from Joe Salamone, Executive Director of Long Island Coalition Against Bullying (LICAB).
“Bullying is a road block for many children as they embark on their paths of success and happiness,” Salamone says on the LICAB website. “We ask that you join us. This is our Island and it is in our communities where this conflict is taking place. Step up and help the coalition. Strength comes in numbers and together we can defeat it.”
During his recent visit to Sayville Middle and High schools, Joe Salamone did more than speak to the students about the hazards of bullying and social intolerance. He engaged them in meaningful dialog and gave them insights from the perspectives of both the bullied and the bully.
Referring to real-life incidences in the news, Joe identified the types of bullying—verbal, physical, cyber, relationship/social—and guided the conversations. Blending comedy and pathos, he gave hope and encouragement to those who may be suffering the pains of intolerance. Throughout the presentation, he emphasized the positive attributes of resiliency, empathy, strength, and self-esteem and called upon the students for their input and feedback in finding solutions. The Sayville students eagerly responded.
Many students shared their positive reactions to the LICAB ideals, but especially to Joe Salamone’s approach. “The comic aspects mixed with the emotional stories really helped me understand more…. Out of all the antibullying things I’ve had to sit through, this was the best one.” Other students admitted to being impacted most by Joe’s personal experiences with bullying and how he overcame its damaging effects. Valuable lessons the students gleaned from his presentation included the importance of sharing the message to as many people who will listen.
In Sayville Middle School and High School, the message has been heard. To truly make STRIDES in the District’s SEL vision, the students will have daily reminders and monthly themes that will help them practice core values, not just in school, but in their homes and the surrounding communities.
Thanks to the visit from LICAB’s Joe Salamone, Sayville STRIDES is off to a great start! For lots more more photos, go to:Photo Album Link for LICAB presentations.