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Empathy can prevent bullying
April 8, 2024

By William Cramp Fit Flyer reporters | William Cramp staff members said empathy can prevent bullying, according to recent interviews with Fit Flyer reporters.

Empathy is the “feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences” according to mer- riam-webster.com. “Empathy can change the way people feel about themselves,” said Dr. George James, a therapist with the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia in the 2022 book How We Heal by Healthy NewsWorks reporters.

“Empathy is a key part of being a responsible and helpful community member at school and elsewhere,” according to Harvard University’s Making Caring Common Project. It can reduces bullying, increases academic success, builds communication skills, and improves life outcomes.

“Empathy helps by having us rethink how we treat others,” said Miss McTamney, a school behavior consultant “If everybody feels safe, we work better.”

She is part of the Support Team for Educational Partnerships (STEP). Simply put, she said, the STEP team members are “helpers” for children who are having big feelings and may need help learning how to handle them in a safe and healthy way. They help kids learn how to make good choices. Miss McTamney said they also work with families to support kids at home and help them get resources for food, housing, or other important things if they need them.

The school also uses incentives to encourage stu- dents to be kind, Miss McTamney said. Students can be awarded points that they can use to attend special events at the end of each month.

An example of an act of kindness she said she witnessed was when a child with special needs was stressed and another child helped them calm down. She said students can show empathy by giving out compliments.

Ms. Morales, a fifth-grade teacher, said she thinks it’s better to understand how someone else feels because it will prevent you from hurting them. Empathy is being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, she said.

Community meetings are a way to build empathy. It gives students a space to get to know each other, she said.

“Students can think before they react, and read the room to see if students need space, and ask if they want help or someone to listen,” Mrs. Morales said.

—By Fit Flyer reporters in Mr. Fitzsimmons’ room

Illustration by Maria, eighth grade, Catholic Partnership Schools.

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