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Community Conversation On Meanness And Bullying Goes Before Newtown Prevention Council



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Community Conversation On Meanness And Bullying

Goes Before Newtown Prevention Council

By Eliza Hallabeck

The Community Conversation On Meanness and Bullying went before the Newtown Prevention Council Thursday, May 21, at the C.H. Booth Library for the final grant-sponsored meeting, but, participants hope, it will not be the last meeting on the topic in town.

“We need to move the work forward,” said Assistant Superintendent Linda Gejda while opening the topic before the council.

The Community Conversation On Meanness and Bullying began when members of the Newtown public school system and members of Newtown Prevention Council applied for a grant from the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund; the district was awarded $2,500 to hold meetings to further the discussion on the topic of bullying. The meetings were also sponsored by Newtown Prevention Council and Newtown Board of Education.

The first meeting of the conversation was held in January, and the second meeting was in March. The community conversation meetings were open to the public and centered around the topic of bullying.

Dr Gejda said an alumni grant can be applied for next year to continue the discussion, and a group will be presenting the town’s progress during the meetings and a logo contest to the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund group on June 30.

A logo contest was held for the topic and all the entries were on display for attendees to vote on at Reed Intermediate School on May 16. The contest asked participants to create a logo that would remind people to be “Nicer In Newtown.”

Conversation participants Jan Lee Brookes and Helen Krueger spoke briefly about the first two meetings for the conversation.

“The reason I was so excited about this was simply the word conversation,” Ms Brookes said.

Ms Krueger said the second meeting went further with the topic and identified what a bullying behavior could look like, and the logo contest idea also came from that meeting.

Reed Intermediate Assistant Principal Tony Salvatore said there were 65 entries in the logo contest, and 35 people voted on their favorites in the different levels (K–fourth grade, grades five through eight, grades nine through twelve, and adult).

Katharine Humber and Michael Meyer tied in the kindergarten through fourth grade level. Other winners were Alexandra Lotko (grades five through eight), Michaela Beaudry (grades nine through twelve), and Tiffany Lotko (adult).

Katharine Humber’s entry depicted people standing around Newtown’s flagpole and helping others. Michael Meyer’s entry showed notable buildings in Newtown and the flagpole. Alexandra Lotko’s entry depicted two hands making the shape of a heart and the words “People are Nicer In Newtown.” Michaela Beaudry’s entry showed a larger chicken nuzzling beaks with a baby chick and the words, “People are Nicer In Newtown, and Ms Lotko’s entry depicted a tree going through all seasons with the flagpole and the words, “People are nicer in Newtown all season long.”

The winning logos will eventually be used in the district, but the exact use has yet to be determined. Dr Salvatore said postage stamps with the images on them could be a possibility.

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