You are here
Home > Community > PECS targets bullying as part of national program

PECS targets bullying as part of national program

Students and faculty at Pemayetv Emahakv Charter School wore blue for Blue Up Against Bullying Day. (PECS)

Students at Pemayetv Emahakv Charter School learned about bullying in October as part of National Bullying Prevention Month.

Tracy Sills, PECS dean of mental health and behavioral support, led classroom meetings with students in all grade levels where they discussed bullying and harassment, bullying prevention and a new Kindness Club which will be launched soon.

“We are starting the Kindness Club to encourage students to treat each other with kindness,” Sills said. “Being out [of the classroom] for two years, we see some decline of social and personal skills. They aren’t always getting along and need to learn to recognize what behaviors are not OK.”

Discussions in the classrooms have addressed disrespectful or mean behavior between students. Sills said sometimes the students think the behaviors are acceptable. Some of the responses have been “he doesn’t mind when I hit him” or “it’s okay, he’s my cousin.” Sills explains how that may be considered bullying and suggests how they can be better classmates and friends to each other.

“We are raising awareness of how the students are treating each other,” Sills said. “We’ve had a lot of participation; they are talking about bullying and coming forward when they think someone is bullying.”

Students are learning they can advocate for themselves and tell a teacher they don’t like it when someone calls them a name or disparages them in some way.

“I encourage students to speak up against it,” Sills said. “I have a lot of kids and parents who come to me before it turns into full blown bullying. I help them understand it before it escalates.”

Sills believes being in groups after two years away from school has been challenging for some students.

“We are, as always, focused on ensuring our students have a safe and comfortable environment in which to learn and thrive,” said PECS principal Tracy Downing. “Tracy Sills … is doing an awesome job of counseling our students with an emphasis on teaching positive social and emotional growth.”

Sills also works closely with the Project AWARE team, which works to identify mental health issues in children at an early age.

“We want everyone who comes here to be safe and comfortable,” Sills said. “I tell the student if we all work together, it can be. I never want a kid to tell me they don’t want to come to school because they don’t feel comfortable. We need to make sure their emotional safety is taken care of as well.”

From Oct. 12-21, during morning announcements the school showed video presentations on bullying and held interactive activities. Students were encouraged to wear orange Oct. 19 for Unity Day, which is celebrated during National Bullying Prevention Month, and to wear blue Oct. 21 for Blue Up Against Bullying Day in connection with the World Day of Bullying Prevention.

Students and faculty at Pemayetv Emahakv Charter School wore orange for Unity Day. (PECS)
Beverly Bidney
Beverly Bidney has been a reporter and photographer for The Seminole Tribune since 2012. During her career, she has worked at various newspapers around the country including the Muskogee Phoenix in Oklahoma, Miami Herald, Associated Press, USA Today and other publications nationwide. A NAJA award winning journalist, she has covered just about everything over the years and is an advocate for a strong press. Contact her at