Find Help, Find Hope!

Houston Schools Launch New “Be Nice” Program for Mental Health, Bullying Prevention

It may sound simple, but the training — dubbed “Be Nice” — could have important, positive effects on school climate, according to early research.

Laura Isensee
Kandice Sloop with the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan coaches students on an action plan to be nice. The program is meant to prevent bullying and suicide.
At Stevens Elementary, a group of second graders gathered around a new coach, Kandice Sloop, who asked them what it means to “be nice.”

“Do you think you can notice if someone was playing by themselves at the playground? Is that something we can notice? What would you do if that’s what you noticed?” Sloop asked.

Then Sloop guided them through an action plan to be nice: — to notice how others are feeling and behaving, invite others to play, to challenge and empower themselves and others.

It may sound simple, but the training — dubbed “Be Nice” — could have important, positive effects on school climate, according to early research.

Crime Stoppers of Houston, a nonprofit dedicated to public safety, partnered with the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan to launch the program this fall. So far, more than a dozen Houston schools have signed up for training and there is a wait list.

Christy Buck, who developed the program, said that it teaches skills — sort of the “stop, drop and roll” of mental health — that could ultimately save lives.

“Ultimately. it’s taking responsibility for myself to be the person that might change attitudes and culture in a school for more kindness, consideration and respect,” Buck said.

Buck said that early research shows that the training improves school climate, with fewer behavior problems.

Rania Mankarious, who leads Crime Stoppers of Houston, said that it dovetails with other initiatives at the nonprofit to keep schools safe, giving kids tools “to notice not just when a student is going to bring a gun on campus, but when a student behaves differently or is posting things that are concerning, or maybe making outcries, empowering them to get involved as a community, so we can create an entire new culture in our schools.”

Laura Isensee
Students learn tools to recognize emotions in others and take action to challenge and empower others and themselves.

September 19, 2018
By Laura Isensee
Houston Public Media

Translate

Become a Member

Join NAMI

Get Involved

DONATE NOW

Get In Touch

CONTACT US