Volusia Pines stands against bullying on Unity Day

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Spookley the Square Pumpkin is a great teacher for how to stand up to bullying and why it’s important to embrace differences.

Students at Volusia Pines Elementary spent the day with Spookley, the only square pumpkin in the patch, during the school’s 7th annual Unity Day on Oct. 21. The storybook character’s adventure teaches them about empathy, and lessons were integrated into the curriculum through art projects, music, stories, dance, videos, reading, and writing activities.

Students helped Spookley make good choices through a classroom discussion and made Spookley pumpkins to hang in the classrooms. They also had the opportunity to enter a poem, essay, or poster contest. After all their hard work, the children participated in a socially distanced Spookley Scavenger Hunt around campus and found Unity Rocks for their classrooms.

Held during National Bullying Prevention Month, Unity Day is an elementary and middle school program that focuses on bullying prevention education. Students sign a pledge to be respectful and kind and to include others in their activities. Most important of all, they learn what bullying truly is – repeated and intentional acts that force an imbalance of power.

It’s traditional for everyone to wear orange on Unity Day. At Volusia Pines, they recognized the most orange boy, girl, teacher, and class. The Panthers also collected $150 in kindness donations for the United Way to help others in the community.

Unity Day is an extra-special event for Volusia Pines School Counselor Sarah Smith, who was bullied as a child and takes pride in the annual event and in Volusia Pines’ ongoing efforts to stop bullying. Smith reminds us all that when we stand united, no one stands alone.

“Volusia Pines will continue to enforce the lessons learned during anti-bullying week throughout the year, supporting a safe campus where differences are celebrated,” she said. “If we can help one child with this program, it was a success!”

a collage of pictures of students
Image of students standing in a line.
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