Dumas ISD encouraging student inclusion with “Start With Hello” initiative

Local News

DUMAS, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Dumas ISD is participating in a nation-wide initiative to encourage inclusion among their students.

“What better way to start lessons on friendship than to start with hello,” said Tonie Crawford, Dumas Elementary School Counselor.

Crawford said it is really that simple when it comes to students including other students in daily activities.

“It is just a way for us to have kids reach to other kids that maybe don’t always have someone to play with, who play alone so that they’re not isolating and so that they’re not feeling alone,” said Crawford.

Beginning this week, schools all across the country including Dumas ISD, are participating in the “Start With Hello Initiative.”

It was started by the Sandy Hook Promise, a non-profit that was formed out of the devastating mass shooting that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary back in 2012.

The non-profit is based on empowering children and their families to help end school shootings and creating a culture change that prevents violence.

“We talk to them about what are ways to make friends? What are ways to keep friends and then having good boundaries with your friends like being able to say no if maybe your friend has an idea that you maybe don’t feel comfortable with,” said Crawford.

Crawford said teaching these skills at a young age can prove to be beneficial throughout a child’s life.

“This is great to start teaching friendship skills, encourage making friends, also being aware just like oh he’s not sitting with anybody. You want to come sit with us? Even as adults, we can see teachers reaching out to a new teacher and starting with hello. Hey, I didn’t know you were teaching fifth grade. These are great skills that these kids need. It’s the same as math, reading and writing. This is something, emotional intelligence, that’s really important,” said Crawford.

Crawford says another positive aspect that has come from this initiative is that it is encouraging students to continue the discussion of friendship at home with their families, adding that she has received a good amount of positive feedback from parents.

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