BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Two Baton Rouge fifth-graders were awarded this week for working together to overcome bullying. The students at La Belle Aire Elementary were surprised by Jill Garner, executive director of Manners of the Heart.
Ms. King's fifth-grade class had been given an American History assignment, but one student, Breanna, had not turned in her project and was facing a "zero" and bad conduct marks. Breanna had a history of being picked on by other students.
Breanna's classmate Liszy took it upon herself to invite Breanna to her home after school for three afternoons to help her research the project. She even purchased the trifold display board needed for the presentation.
Because of Liszy's help, Breanna was able to turn her assignment in on time. She got a good grade and gained the respect of many of her classmates who no longer have anything to tease her about.
Garner heard about the story because the school had been using her Manners of the Heart curriculum. She decided to surprise the girls with a special heart-in-hand charm, and gave the entire class a plate of her famous chocolate chip cookies and bookmarks.
"While many schools are dealing with 'mean girls' in the fifth grade, I know one school that isn't," Garner said. "In first grade they learned to look for ways to help others rather than waiting for someone to help them. They learned that if someone is being bullied, you don't stand back, you step in to help. Last year they learned to put the needs of others ahead of their wants."
Garner said more students should be recognized for living out those lessons in their everyday lives.
According to their website, Manners of the Heart (MOH) is a nonprofit, community-based organization dedicated to transforming homes, schools and communities through instructional programs designed to build character, strengthen morals, and increase respectfulness among children and adults. This character education program, referred to as "Heart Education," offers resources for children, parents, teachers and business professionals. MOH provides classroom application-level learning through curriculum for students and professional instruction through seminars, workshops and conferences for adults.