Children avoiding school because of the fear of being physically or emotionally abused has an overpowering presence today. A child hiding in the bathroom during lunchtime or a sudden decline in grades are just two of the many signs that an individual may be bullied. Bullying is a rising problem in many schools across the United States, but the Anderson University Department of Psychology decided to do something about the problem in their community.
Psychology students developed a one-day program that would inform local students and teachers on the stigmas, signs, and effects bullying can have on students. The students and professors from the department implemented the program in Liberty Christian School, a local Anderson, Ind., private school. Dr. Lee Griffith, professor of psychology, was the faculty supervisor for the interpersonal training that took place with the event team. “Our hope is that Liberty Christian students and teachers are better prepared to deal with such situations,” said Griffith.
“Liberty Christian approached us about the need to have personal communication and anti-bullying training,” said McDougall. “We are always excited to be able to train people around the community in communication skills that can help them in work and in life.”
The day consisted of three talks from AU psychology professors, as well as educational times where participants were taught interpersonal skills to combat bullying that takes place in the schools. During the morning and afternoon sessions, four AU students acted as interpersonal trainers and taught skills that can be used to end bullying in schools. The interpersonal trainers then spent 40 minutes with individual teachers explaining and showing how to implement the skills into the daily school activities.
Jessica Hatcher, a senior psychology and complementary youth leadership-development major, worked as an interpersonal trainer for the anti-bullying program. Through her time at AU and her experience working with the event, Hatcher has found the importance of leaving a mark on the community.
“I think it is so important that we give back to the community,” said Hatcher. “We have been trained in healthy ways to live and feel called to help others learn about these skills. It is our main goal as youth leadership-development majors to reach out to the community and offer what we have learned. We want to further the kingdom of Christ with the education we have been blessed to receive.”
— Allison Kohl is a senior from Springfield, Ohio, majoring in communication arts. Kohl is an associate with Fifth Street Communications®, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God (Anderson, Ind.), Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.