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Benches Designed to Promote Friendship/Stop Bullying in Area Schools

Buddy Benches (Credit: SPS)

The benches are designed to encourage friendship and to promote awareness of how students can stop bullying.  Kim Harris is with the North Springfield Betterment Association, which helped bring the benches to ten area schools.
"We know that bullying is one of the reasons why we have an attendance problem in schools.  You know, when you're being bullied you don't want to tell anybody.  It's embarassing, and you make up excuses to not go to school, so there are a lot of parents that are completely unaware of that, so we wanted to start a campaign called Bullying Stops With Me," she said.
The benches are part of that campaign.  They were built by Carpenter's Local 978 and are wooden with seats that are connected but facing opposite directions.
One of the buddy benches is being placed at Williams Elementary.  Principal Jennifer Webb says it will be a great way for students to look for friends who might be feeling lonely or who are having a difficult time.
"There are several kiddos at school on any given day  that might be feeling down or sad about something that might be happening in their world at home or even at school and in the classroom, and a lot of times what they just need to do is have a buddy to talk to about it or someone to sit next to them and to feel important and so this is a great opportunity for our school to have a place outside at recess under a beautiful shade tree to go and have a seat and to teach the rest of the kiddos, you know, don't be a bystander and stand and watch somebody feeling lonely or see somebody be bullied.  Step over there and see what somebody needs," she said.
Other schools receiving Buddy Benches are Bissett, Campbell, Disney, Field, Sequiota, Sunshine, Truman and Weaver Elementary and Study Alternative Center's PALS program.