Yesterday was National Bullying Awareness Day, and one business in Perry used that as motivation to donate a new “Buddy Bench” to Perry Elementary.
The Perry Hy-Vee unveiled the bench, which offers a safe spot for students being bullied. Hy-Vee Store Manager Matt Rohe said anytime they have a chance to bring something good to the community, it’s a great opportunity. “I think the purpose of the bench is great, because it’s easy to go and sit instead of having to go tell a teacher. Nobody likes to tattle-tell, right? So this makes it easier for the child to just go sit on a bench. So it’s simple. If they’re feeling down, I mean that’s the purpose. And what we have read from other schools that have used it, it has worked, and also just raises awareness. So it’s great.”
The Perry fourth-grade students outlined the rules they established for the “Buddy Bench,” which includes: if you see someone on the bench, ask them to play; if you are on the bench and someone else comes, ask them to play; and if you are on the bench and someone asks you to play, the answer is, “Yes.” Perry Elementary Principal Ned Menke believes the bench has many possibilities. “I think it’s just another way that all of our kids can work on treating each other respectfully, and the way they want to be treated. And then it just helps kids when they’re out at recess, maybe they just don’t have someone to play with. They have a chance to sit down and maybe make a new friend that way. I hope it’s something that gets used throughout the next several years here at the elementary school.”
Menke was thankful for the efforts put forward by both Hy-Vee and his own staff in making the “Buddy Bench” a reality.