Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - 2nd Grade teacher Peter Lancrete, or in this case, D.J. "Disco Inferno," has been with Raleigh Edison Charter School for 14 years, and says the best way to promote anti–bullying efforts is by throwing the whole student body a party.
"It promotes our school as being a bully–free environment, and violence prevention as well. So, this is a way to kick off our year in the right way," said Lancrete.
...a block party, to be exact, and for 7 consecutive years it's been one filled with food, games, dancing and some friendly competition.
Lancrete says it's important that parents and the community get involved with the block party, because it enforces that bullying is something that still won't be tolerated after the classrooms empty for the day.
"We want to make sure that the community is really a part of what our school is and what we're doing here, as a community. We invite the neighbors, we invite businesses, to... help be a part of it as well, and we want this to be a big community event," said Lancrete.
...support that's needed more than ever, says Lancrete, because bullying left unchecked can have tragic consequences, as was the case with 12–year–old Tommy Trosvik, in 2006, when bullying at a Twin Cities school drove Tommy to commit suicide in his home.
"I decided to walk up to the second floor of the barn... and I walked up the stairs, and I looked around, and I looked to my left, and... I found him hanging—he had hung himself," recalls Fred Trosvik, in a previous NNC interview.
...and parents seem to be on board with the school's all–inclusive policy as well.
"It's good to know that your kid[s] can go to school, and have fun, and you don't have to worry about kids these days bullying them," said parent Timothy Manns.
Steve Olson says being able to trust the school that his daughter, Brooke, is busy with books, and not bullies, is a daily relief: "You always worry about your kid at school—what's going on, and what they're doing throughout the day. So, it's good to know that they're being taken care of, and in a safe environment."
Olson hopes more area schools make anti–bullying efforts a regular part of their curriculum.
According to the PACER Center Against Bullying, keeping an active, open dialogue between parents, their children, and their children's teachers can help prevent many cases of bullying from going unnoticed.