On a day that looked (and felt) more like June than October, about 40 Maplewood Middle School (MMS) students participated in the school’s first Bikers Against Bullying event. The school partnered with the Maplewood Police Department, which provided an escort as the students, school staff, and police cyclists made their way on their two-mile trek around town.
“The point of the event is to get the community behind the idea of combating bullying,” said Dana Robinson, the school’s social worker who came up with the idea for the event. “Without everyone’s involvement, the cycle of bullying will only continue.”
Robinson was joined by MMS Assistant Principal Louis Brown in guiding the pedaling pack on the ride.
“I want to thank all of the Maplewood Middle School students and staff who participated in our very first Bikers Against Bullying event,” MMS Principal Dara Gronau. “It brings a tremendous amount of pride to our school and helps remind everyone of the importance of respecting one another.”
Gronau said the event also was an opportunity for the police to reinforce a few lessons about bike safety.
Maplewood Police Detective Sergeant Scott Reeves brought a box of bike helmets, which came in handy for a couple of student bikers who forgot to bring their own. Officer Byron Lewin demonstrated the left-arm turn signals bikers should use when cycling on a public road. Officers Diana Gil and Matthew Jones biked alongside the students and staff. Detective Sergeant Reeves led the brigade with lights and sirens in front, while Detective Steven Gyimoty brought up the rear and made sure no stragglers were left behind.
New Jersey’s anti-bullying law requires school districts to designate the week beginning with the first Monday in October as the Week of Respect. This week is an opportunity for districts and schools to focus on the prevention of harassment, intimidation, and bullying (HIB), and create environments that are welcoming and supportive places for all students to learn.