It’s an effort to help prevent bullying, but build friendships for students the same time. It’s called the Buddy Bench, and the vice mayor of Murfreesboro is on a mission to equip each city school with one. School officials recently unveiled the Buddy Bench at Scales Elementary School.
“The Buddy Bench is a simple idea where we can foster an environment of friendship and kindness for students,” explained Maria Johnson Scales Elementary Principal. And not just that – it’s a way to combat bullying, too.
“We’ve worked very hard to decrease bullying; in fact, we’ve decreased it by two-thirds in the last few years and have a comprehensive approach to behavior and social emotional learning,” said Murfreesboro Director of Schools Dr. Linda Gilbert said.
Bringing Buddy Benches to Murfreesboro City Schools was the idea of Vice Mayor Madelyn Scales Harris. “It’s all about keeping our children safe and in a learning environment it’s going to enhance they learning experience, and also it’s going to promote friendships and inclusion,” Scales Harris said.
Former NFL Player Terrance Pennington said he was bullied as a child because of his size. “Being a big kid you definitely go through being teased, being talked about, being bullied,” Pennington said. He now goes around to schools spreading his anti-bullying message through his book, “Terrance Pennington’s Play By Play.” “I was very shy, so I love the Buddy Bench because I wasn’t comfortable going and saying, ‘I want to play with you,’” Pennington said.
Students will be taught the meaning of the Buddy Bench and get a chance to paint and personalize it. “My goal is to by next April have a Buddy Bench in all of the schools,” Scales Harris said. Lowe’s donated the first bench, and has agreed to provide benches for all nine Murfreesboro City Schools.
Courtesy of WKRN News 2