KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) – The Kansas City Public School District just launched a new program this week to try to put an end to bullying.
In it, schools will have new rules against it and teachers will go through special training.
While this program is new to the school district, one woman who works there has already been working to stop bullies in their tracks.
Desiree Saunders’ kitchen at the cafeteria at Northeast High School is a bully-free zone. Bullying isn’t tolerated by Saunders and her campaign is changing attitudes for students throughout the school.
“Because you get a lot more bees with honey,” she said.
The bees Saunders is talking about are troubled students. Respect is her honey.
“I care. A lot of these students go through a lot. They’re paying bills at home. These are the only two meals a student gets a day,” she said.
Saunders calls every student by their first name and, in return, they lovingly call her Miss D.
“Some of the students here, believe it or not, they just want to interact, they just want you to say something to them, show that you do care,” she said.
The lunch lady’s caring approach is to curb bullying at Northeast High School.
“Students being bullied for their food, being bullied for money. I’ve seen students in here writing papers for students because they say, ‘Hurry up do my work’. No, we’re not going to do that,” Saunders said.
When the teens walk in, Miss D gets on her microphone and begins her lesson.
“I’ll say, you know, ‘That’s one of your classmates, that’s your little brother or your little sister, so we have to stick together, we have to protect each other,'” she said.
Every year Miss D recruits for her anti-bully squad. She gets the cool kids to stick up for the students being bullied.
“We need our anti-bully squad to be ready for anyone who needs it,” Saunders said.
Johnisha Griffin was one such student. Classmates picked on her for the way she dressed. That was before Miss D stepped in and gave her a new focus.
“By being myself. Telling me to go far in life and get my education,” Griffin said.
“The bullying has stopped and everyone is a fan of Johnisha Griffin,” Sanders said. I’m here for the person who’s not going to speak up for themselves. I am one of a few good men, so I’m here for that.”
Students at the school have said that while there’s no bullying in the lunch room, it does find its way in the classroom and district officials want to put a stamp to that.
KCPS’ new anti-bullying program is based off of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program. It focuses on four core components that include school-level, classroom-level, individual-level and community-level. Click here to find out exactly how it focuses on those four components.
KCPS’ program will train more teachers to stop the problem by responding to the problem just like Miss D.