Letters for Nov. 17, 2016

• Together, we can stop bullying 

Together, we can stop bullying

I would like to express gratitude for the role The Garden Island played in covering the usage of the 6-STEP REP Process, a successful “tool” to help take the “bull” out of bullying.

Bullying is all around us: in our homes, schools, communities and in the media. The “6-STEP Resolution/Empathy Process (6-STEP REP Process) is a systematic method for teachers and parents to use with any conflict or incident arising from aggression, anger, teasing, mean and hurtful words, etc. It actively includes every individual involved in an incident and is being implemented in the schools on Kauai. The helpful 6-STEP REP Process card is also being sent home with students in grades kindergarten through third by the Kauai public schools so that children may begin using it with their families, too.

The social/emotional development of our youth is hugely important and must be carefully taught throughout the grades, much like reading, writing and math. When used regularly, the 6-STEP REP Process involves respect, critical thinking, problem-solving, responsibility, ownership, empathy and gives the victim an empowering voice.

Research says that for new habits to form it takes at least 32 repetitions, so by having adults and children consistently follow the 6-STEP REP Process our youth will be on the path to developing empathy and experiencing successful social and emotional relationships.

A national anti-bullying program in Finland shows us that even at a young age, empathy is one of the best tools we have to make the world a better place. Yes, parents and teachers, let’s do our part. We really can make a difference in a child’s life and in our world.

Special thanks to: Ink Spot Printing Services and Marynel Valenzuela for their creative and colorful, step-by-step design of the cards; thank you Hanalei Bay Rotary and Poipu Beach Rotary, Keiki-to-Career, and K.I.D.S. School for their funding to make the distribution of the 6-STEP REP Process cards possible. Their support and encouragement is giving families and teachers in the Kauai DOE a practical and positive tool for our children to learn to solve their own problems. This tool, when followed consistently, goes a long way to helping our children feel safe at school and at home.

Phyllis Kunimura, Koloa

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