Middlesex Middle School seventh-graders recently participated in a full-day assembly on bullying. The anti-bullying program began with the "Step Up!" presentation lead by a representative from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), who explained bullying.

ADL went over the different roles people play in bullying situations (the target, the perpetrator, and the bystander and ally), the dynamics of typical incidents of bias and the array of responses that are available. The program's goal is to teach the targets of bullying productive responses to build empathy in the aggressors and to inspire the bystanders to become allies. Students from Darien High School also participated in the presentation by sharing their own experiences in bullying and the various roles they played (target, perpetrator and bystander).

After the "Step Up!" presentation, the seventh-graders watched the movie "Radio," which is inspired by a true story about a high school coach who befriends a mentally challenged student who is being bullied. With the coach's support, the young man is able to gain the respect of his schoolmates and community. After a break for lunch, the students broke off into small groups to discuss what the learned during the ADL presentation and to reflect on how bullying affects their lives in and out of school. The students made anti-bullying posters to display around school to spread the anti-bullying message to the rest of the MMS student body.

In addition to this presentation to the seventh-graders, Middlesex also holds assemblies for the sixth-graders on internet safety and for the eighth-graders on cyber bullying.

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