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Kaneland parents convene to promote kindness, help recess monitors

Kindness campaign to tackle bullying

SUGAR GROVE – Social media may be addicting, distracting and a cause for procrastination, but it also can be an excellent way to connect for a cause.

It’s now helping parents with children in the Kaneland School District 302 to do something positive for the recess monitors, lunch room monitors and the student body.

At the school board meeting March 12, the Minimum Staffing Plan for 2018-19 was approved. This reduces the hourly rate from $15 an hour to $13 an hour for the aforementioned employees. Several voiced their displeasure at the meeting.

At the same meeting, a handful of people addressed the board about bullying incidents. It included parents who questioned how the schools are addressing it as well as a heartfelt personal account from a student who has been bullied.

News travels fast these days with social media and what transpired at the meeting quickly reached Annette Theobald, mother of two Kaneland High School students and owner of Paisano’s in Elburn and Sugar Grove, who wanted to do something for these employees. She turned to the Kaneland Moms group on Facebook and explained that these school employees can be the first responders to those students who are left out and sitting alone and that these associates need to be empowered to handle the mean kids who target the vulnerable and bully them.

Theobald hosted a meeting at the Sugar Grove Public Library on March 19, and a plan is starting to materialize, which includes a list of items desired by the monitors.

“We had a good first meeting,” Theobald said. “Basically we are in the process of getting a list of items together. Then, we want to have each school let us know how many of each item they would like and how many monitors they have. We are focusing on items that can be used the rest of the school year. Then we will update in the fall.”

As an example, items might include facial tissue, hand sanitizer, bug spray and bandages, as well as balls, chalk, yard games and Frisbees.

Wants and needs from current and past monitors is being gathered and compiled into lists. These lists are going to be shared with the monitors at the school before this group of parents reaches out to others who are willing to donate items or gift cards that can be used to purchase them.

“We don’t want to handle any money so we’re asking for the gift cards,” said Jen Flory, one of the parents who is assisting in the effort. “And this is more than buying items. Everything starts at grade school with kids feeling included and their self-esteem and these monitors help a lot of them to not feel left out or get bullied.”

Flory said their idea is to emphasize kind acts rather than focusing on the negative aspects of the bullying and punishments.

“It all goes hand-in-hand so we’re looking to incorporate the Kindness Campaign as a positive aspect and reinforce those actions,” she said.

While plans haven’t been completely finalized, the two Paisano’s locations will likely be the drop-off spots for donations of items and gift cards. There’s also discussion of selling motivational, kindness-based T-shirts to raise funds, punch cards for complimentary cookies or brownies, among other ideas being tossed around.

“People are aware that something is happening,” Flory said. ‘We still just need to figure out everything we’re going to do and how to tell everyone.”

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