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School has new practice to bench bullying... literally!

By Bo Koltnow, Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published On: May 07 2014 05:11:00 PM CDT
Updated On: May 07 2014 06:28:11 PM CDT

On the playground, the fun of recess isn't always so fun.

ORWIGSBURG, Pa. -

On the playground, the fun of recess isn't always so fun.

"Kids pushing each other, saying can't play in games," fourth grader Ryan Gherghel said when asked if he sees bullying.

So Blue Mountain Elementary in Orwigsburg, Schuylkill County is relying on a bench to battle bullying.

"If you're lonely or need a friend you can go sit there," fourth grader Madison Swick explained.

"If nice kids come by and see kids sitting there they would ask them to come over and play in their games and what's wrong," Gherghel went on to say.

It's called a buddy bench; the goal being to end playground loneliness.

"Gives them a tool to use where to say hey here is someone who feels left out. Let's go see what they need and be a good friend," parent Jessica Swick said.

Outside of a school in York, Blue Mountain doesn't know of any other playground that has the buddy bench.

Hopes are the idea spreads to other schools throughout the state.

The bench is part of a character building curriculum.

The school's Eagle Way program, teaches honesty, respect and responsibility.

Blue Mountain was also the first school in the state to bring in Boosterthon, a national morale-boosting program.

"Asking students to think about their actions ahead of time. If make mistakes take responsibility for these actions and show their respect," assistant principal Kristin Frederick said.

The plan seems to be working.