Bulldawg Buddy Benches

Clements/Parsons Elementary School students Elijah Guzman-Murphey, Kelsey Tawney and Maithias Early enjoy one of the new Bulldawg Buddy Benches provided to the school by the PTO. The bench is a place where students feeling lonely can go to make new friends.

Courtesy of CCISD

Moving and adjusting to a new school can be challenging, especially for military-connected students.

One-fourth of Copperas Cove Independent School District students are military dependants who are often faced with having to adjust to new schools, meet new teachers, and make new friends.

With recent reports from BRIM, an anti-bullying software, claiming that 33 percent of elementary school students report being bullied at school, it is easy to see why transitioning to a new school may be difficult.

Clements/Parson Elementary School’s Parent Teacher Organization recently purchased and donated two “buddy” benches to assist in making this transition just a little easier and also help students feel less isolated and prevent bullying.

One of the benches is on the playground and the other on the black top, strategically placed so they provide somewhere for students to go when they are feeling lonely, need a secure place to relax or need a friend to talk to.

Assistant Principal Kirk Balk is pleased with the attention the benches have received from the students and how quickly they have become the center of activity at the school.

The main function of these benches is to provide students with peer-support against bullying and to create a safe space to make friends.

“These benches have become the main attraction on the playgrounds at the school,” Balk said.

Buddy benches are a way for schools to facilitate, implement and encourage relationship building among students. Importantly, the benches are a useful tool in reducing bullying by providing an open and inviting place to from bonds with other students.

Teacher Kimberly Bobbitt recognizes the effectiveness of the benches as a way to combat bullying.

“This is a great place the students can go when they need a friend,” Bobbitt said.

The funds for the benches came from various fundraisers initiated by the PTO. The fundraisers included pickle and popcorn sales, family nights, and parent night out.

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