SCHOOL SUCCESS: NEW RICHLAND-HARTLAND-ELLENDALE-GENEVA (NRHEG) PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN MINNESOTA
Brooke Krohn is used to having an impact on students’ lives. As a social worker at New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva (NRHEG) Public Schools in Minnesota, she’s sometimes responsible for helping children navigate difficult feelings and life events. And bullying is no exception.
But her first experience with No Bully’s Solutions Team process has left a lasting impression.
“It was one of the coolest things I have experienced,” she said.
Krohn recalls a fifth-grader who “was in a low spot, didn’t want to come to school, and really felt like he didn’t belong…He was new to the district and a couple of kiddos were giving him a hard time. He felt they were bullying him.”
The Solutions Team, however, shifted this dynamic entirely.
“I can see what a difference it made in him since this happened,” Krohn smiles. “He’s got a group of friends now. He feels like he belongs. He’s got a smile on his face. He’s upbeat.”
But he’s not the only one who was changed through the process.
“The kids involved in the Solutions Team were so invested in doing it. It brought tears to my eyes,” she said. “They really took ownership of it and felt like they made a huge impact.”
Even the “bully” came away with a new perspective. As part of the Solutions Team, she told all the students, including him, that she was looking to them to be leaders in the process – that she needed their help and couldn’t do it alone.
“He never really looked at himself as a leader or realized that he could be part of something for good,” Krohn said. “That was an ah-ha moment for him. I don’t know if he’d ever seen himself in that sort of role before.”
That student “had a much better year” after the Solutions Team and had far fewer reports about his behavior.
“I just thought it couldn’t have gone any better,” Krohn said, “to have such passion and excitement and buy-in from the kids.”
In the district’s secondary school (serving sixth through 12th grade), she sees the way the Shred Hate program has had a positive ripple effect with student-athletes. At their Shred Hate assembly, varsity athletes made a pledge to not be a bystander and to support kids that are being bullied.
“Athletics is a huge part of our culture here,” Krohn said. “Shred Hate’s partnership with the X Games, ESPN and Major League Baseball has helped some of the staff and kids and parents be more open to this program. Now, anti-bullying efforts arent’ just from the school social worker. We’re hitting the jocks. And we’re really making some impact.”