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Shelbyville schools target social isolation

The student population at Coulson Elementary School received a rousing “Good Morning” Tuesday from staff and special invited guests in the community.

This week is “Start with Hello Week,” bringing attention to social isolation and empowering youth to include others in their school, youth organization and community. Shelbyville Central Schools is participating in this week-long effort to raise awareness of social isolation.

Coulston jump-started the program Tuesday morning with a morning greeting session for all students. Staff members, emergency personnel workers, and members of the community, including Shelbyville Mayor Tom DeBaun and city councilman Brad Ridgeway, were in attendance to welcome the students to school.

“It’s a national thing that started with Sandy Hook Elementary (School). It’s to help promote awareness for kids who feel socially isolated ... and for kindness,” said Kelly Stephens, social worker at Coulston Elementary. “So we have activities planned everyday to promote playing with other kids, including others and doing the right thing.

“And we wanted to have a community day to invite the community to start the day off and say, ‘Hello’ or “Good Morning’ and start on a positive note.”

The inaugural campaign was a hit with many students who shared high fives with all the willing participants that created a tunnel leading up to the front door of the school.

In the hallway near the front office hangs a banner that says, “Be the I in Kind,” and allows the kids to pose as the “I.”

“The kids can stand in there and we’re taking pictures and they have to pledge to be kind and nice to other kids,” said Stephens.

This week also is Homecoming Week in Shelbyville and many of the teachers were in costume Tuesday morning as part of Spirit Week.

“I don’t know if the kids knew what to expect, but the smiles ... I could tell they were excited,” said Stephens. “I talked to several classes yesterday about it so they weren’t shocked when they saw a lot of people. They understood it was a positive good morning and we wanted to involve the community.”

Hendricks Elementary had a “Breakfast with Badges” event planned for 7:30 a.m. today and Loper Elementary will have a similar morning hello and high-five event at 7:15 a.m. Thursday.

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