Many school districts in Bergen County celebrated Respect Week in their respective towns — some with a "Buddy Bench."
Kids who don't have anyone to play with at recess can sit on the bench so other children know to invite them.
The Norwood PTO held a special ribbon cutting ceremony for the school’s Buddy Bench. The buddy bench is a simple idea to eliminate loneliness and foster friendship, inclusion and kindness on the playground.
Fair Lawn parent Tammy Smith is thrilled that her son has a buddy bench at Radburn Elementary School, too, which Mayor John Cosgrove cut the ribbon on Wednesday.
“As a parent and as one who as a youngster, was bullied and sat alone at recess and at lunch back in the day, I only wish we had such a thing when I was a kid,” Smith said.
The day was made special for Cosgrove with his 10th grade English teacher, Mary Wallace, who now serves as the vice president of the borough's Board of Education.
During Respect Week, students reflected on the ways that conflicts can lead to bullying and learn ways to respect themselves and others.
Teachers incorporated harassment, intimidation, bullying and respect into lesson plans and recorded intentional acts of kindness.
In Norwood Public Schools, students made kindness and smile cards in art class, signed an anti-bullying contract and wore school colors to celebrate school spirit.