New Anti-Bullying Program Comes to Creekside Elementary
Author Kristy Short brings her message to the Hartland school in a pilot program starting in the fall.
Starting this fall, Creekside Elementary students will be “spreading the nice” all year round as they become the first school in the area to participate in a new anti-bullying program.
The program is based off the second book in a children's series, Operation Nice, written by 27-year-old Kristy Short. The program is designed to send a "poignant" message and remind children to make better choices in regards to bullying in schools.
The main character in Short's books is Zanda Humphrey, a fourth grade scientist who builds machines, including an anti-bullying machine. The young character appeals to boys and girls alike, according to Short, and is also one they are able to connect with.
“They do immediately become loyal to these characters,” she said. “They want to spread the nice and they want to please Zanda.”
Over the past year, Short introduced her audience to her “lovable and memorable” characters during school assemblies at several area schools including Creekside. Eventually, Short says she was encouraged by teachers and administrators to turn the hour-long assembly into a year-round program.
“As I went out doing assemblies, one by one, teachers were emailing me saying this changed their kids in class,” Short said. “It’s changing their mindset.”
Helping to bring the program to Creekside was media specialist Elizabeth Millington, who was one of the program’s biggest supporters, according to Short.
Calling it an “in your face,” program, Millington says she is excited to see not only how the students react to the program, but parents and families as well.
“We definitely want the parents to get involved because we want the language to be a common language,” she said. “It’s a culture change -- that’s what we’re hoping for.”
Posters, stickers, window clings and banners will be surrounding the school on a daily basis as a reminder to the young students, as well as a reward program with prizes. Teachers will also have a guide book to help run the program, but Short says the real difference is her program is that it doesn’t rely too heavily on teacher involvement, but empowers the students to make their own choices.
“It’s not just the teachers running it, the students are a real integral part as well,” she said.