Beach Haven School Encourages Kids to Be ‘Upstanders’

By Eric Englund | Oct 16, 2019
Courtesy of: Beach Haven School

Beach Haven — Beach Haven Elementary School students focused on being “upstanders,” to be kind and stay bully-free during a “Week of Respect.”

The week kicked off on Monday, Oct. 7, with World Day of Bullying Prevention Blue Shirt Day. Tuesday was Step Up for Respect Sneaker Day. Wednesday was We Are All Part of Team Beach Haven Sports Shirt Day. Thursday was Show What Makes You Happy Favorite T-Shirt Day. The week concluded with Friday’s Show Respect For Our School – School Spirit Day.

“I did my dissertation on the importance of a student’s social development,” said Christopher Meyrick, school superintendent and principal. “So I wanted to make that a priority here along with academic development and achievement.”

Similar programs and initiatives have sprouted up at other school districts. For example, Barnegat started an upstander initiative last year. The program encourages students to become the best versions of themselves, creating a positive community that lifts others up instead of putting them down. It also stresses family togetherness.

Leah Purpuri, district supervisor of guidance, said that through this program, one altruistic student per school is recognized monthly at the board of education meetings. These students will be nominated by building administrative and counseling staff.

“The Upstander Program gets its name because it is the opposite of a bystander,” said Purpuri. “The bystander sees something, but instead of doing something, he just stands around and does nothing. The upstander will try to do something and help.”

She said deeds rewarded could be anything from standing up for someone who is being bullied to doing acts of kindness such as opening doors for people.

“The youngsters can show traits such as compassion, trustworthiness, advocacy, integrity and positivity,” she said.

Meyrick said other special programs could be held during the year.

“The whole concept is to discourage negative behaviors and also provide a safe environment for learning,” he said.

— Eric Englund




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