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Counseling » Yellow Ribbon Week

Yellow Ribbon Week

Students at Madison will be celebrating Yellow Ribbon Week in January.

The purpose of Yellow Ribbon Week is to prevent violence and provide a safe environment for kids in our community. Teachers and school staff will be demonstrating their commitment to school safety and empowering and teaching our students ways in which to dialog and behave in non-violent ways towards others. Activities and discussions will revolve around topics of how to handle bullying and teasing, respect and tolerance, stranger safety, emergency plans, anger management, conflict resolution, and/or bike/scooter safety measures.

The week begins with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday, so his work toward peacemaking, non-violence and equal rights for all will also be highlighted. We encourage you to discuss some of these issues with your child at home. Take this opportunity to make sure that your family emergency plan is updated and that everyone understands the plan if you are separated. Double check your disaster preparedness kit to ensure that batteries and water are fresh and that you have all the essentials you would need in the event of an emergency. If your kit is not started, take this opportunity to begin gathering the essentials needed. Lastly, let this week be a week to start discussions about respect, tolerance, conflict resolution, anger management , stranger safety and emergency plans with your child, but let those discussions continue on in a regular fashion.



 You can choose to control your anger without hurting yourself or others! Anger is a natural, normal feeling that all people feel. So it is OK to be angry but it is what we do with our anger that counts! If anger is not managed properly it can lead to fights, social isolation, or loneliness.

The 3 step ACE plan can help keep your anger under control (see left column for more details).

Awareness: Choose to be aware of and identify your body’s anger warning signs. They tell you when your anger is starting. There are different degrees of anger that can gradually build or compound on each other. So Know how “hot” your thermometer is getting.

Calm down: Check which strategies work best for you . Not each one will work in all situations. So have several strategies in your “tool box” for different situations.

Express Your Feelings: Don’t let uncomfortable feeling build up over time. Get in the habit of knowing how to state your feelings respectfully so that you won’t have a blow up.



When resolving a conflict, it is important to remember:
  • You both have feelings and it is difficult to communicate when you feel angry, hurt, frightened or sad.
  • You both have some degree of responsibility in the problem and both of you must work to resolve it.
  • You both have a point of view and neither of you are 100% right or wrong.
  • Make sure you try to solve the conflict as a friend and not an enemy.

Many conflicts can be resolved easily if you use some simple strategies. Learn them and use them. The more you practice them, the more “automatic” they will become for you.

Share. Peoples feeling become more important than things. Take turns and everybody can win.

Compromise. If you both give up something, you can both get something.

Chance. Luck decides who wins if you both agree to flip a coin or draw a straw.

Postpone. Take a break to cool down and come back to discuss and resolve the conflict when you both have a clear head.

Apologize. “I’m sorry” doesn’t mean “I’m wrong” and it can go a long way to getting the problem resolved. It also lets the other person know you feel bad about the situation.

Humor. A good laugh can work miracles. Just make sure you laugh at the problem and not the other person.

Avoid. Sometimes it’s not worth the bother. It is ok to let things go or roll off your back sometimes.

Get Help. Sometimes it is ok to have someone else mediate for you. Look for your teacher, counselor, parent, principal or an impartial friend.



If you think your child is being bullied, tell them:

Don’t react emotionally. Assist your child in knowing who the safe people are within the school and how to seek them out.  Help them practice not showing their emotions in front of the bully.

Be assertive. Practice with your child things they can say to the bully to stand up to them.

Stay with others. Reinforce for your child that bullies are most likely to act aggressively with a child who is alone.

Say something unexpected. This is especially effective if the child can turn the bullying situation into something humorous. Encourage your child’s sense of humor and creative problemsolving skills.

Own the put-down. Remind your child that a bully often does not know what to do or say next if the victim simply agrees with them.



Ignore the bully: They are looking for a response. If you ignore them, you are taking away the fun and they will get bored.

Agree with the bully: If what they are saying is true, agree. They can’t continue or argue if you agree.

Tell a joke: Being funny may distract the bully. Make sure the bully knows you are not laughing or joking at them though.

Refuse to fight: Fighting says that the bully is right and violence is the way to solve the problem. Just walk away, no matter how much you feel like fighting.

Be friendly: They may be surprised by a kind word and forget about hurting you or saying mean things.

Talk back to the bully: Deep down they are usually scared or insecure themselves. If you defend yourself with words a bully may back off. Only try this if there is no audience, as they will continue if they are getting attention from others.

Fool the bully: Say something like, “My dad is picking me up soon.” This may trick them into leaving or leaving you alone.

Tell someone: It is important to let a teacher or adult know what is going on. Especially if you have tried a couple of the other strategies and they are not working.



Take a few minutes to talk with your children about the violence that they are exposed to. Randomly pick one the TV shows that they watch and join them. Together count the number of times that you see hitting, yelling, throwing things, disrespectful language/dialogue or hurting others physically or verbally. Talk about how these actions make them feel when they see them and how watching such actions could effect someone's behavior.

You may be amazed at the various levels of violence that are in the shows and cartoons that we consider age appropriate. Are we allowing our children to be desensitized to these behaviors and attitudes? It is something to think about.



Work through the following questions to develop an emergency plan for your family. You may need to work up a couple variations for different emergencies/disasters.
  1. How will we know it is happening or will happen? (sirens, message on TV, alarms)
  2. Where should we go to be safe? What should we do there? ( Meet at the corner, gather at the sidewalk out front)
  3. What food or supplies should we have on hand?
  4. How will we know the disaster is over?
  5. What should we do to be safe after the disaster? 


  1. How will we meet if we are separated when the disaster happens?
  2. Who else is allowed to pick the children up if you are not available or can’t get to the scene? Do you have a secret code that you would tell someone to pick up your child that they could ask?

We always hope that we won’t need to use any of this information, but it is always better to be prepared. Being prepared can help get through the emergency a whole lot smoother than without being prepared.

Prepared for you by Kimberly Pappas, School Counselor. Please call 310-798-8623 or email [email protected] if I can be of any assistance to you.


  • Red , hot face
  • Mean thoughts
  • Tight jaw
  • Clenched fists
  • Tense or shaky body
  • Fast heartbeat 


  • Breath slowly and deep
  • Ask for help
  • Count to “10” or more
  • Listen to music
  • Imagine a peaceful place
  • Sit or lay down to relax
  • Let it go or think of something else
  • Walk away
  • Think of the consequences of blowing up
  • Laugh it off 


  • Use an “I Message”
  • Talk it out
  • Write it down
  • Draw it out
  • Work it out