‘Don’t Be a Monster’

Anti-bullying program visits middle schools

The Lost Hollows haunted trail is traveling to all Calcasieu Parish public middle schools throughout October to present “Don’t Be a Monster,” a program that educates students on the dangers of bullying and cyberbullying.

The program is in honor of National Bullying Prevention Month. During a visit to W.W. Lewis Middle School on Thursday, “The Keeper of the Hollows” and “Frank” the monster discussed bullying prevention tactics, such as “being an upstander, not a bystander.”

“People buy a ticket to come to the The Lost Hollows to get scared,” said The Keeper of the Hollows, dressed in full costume.

“They enjoy it. But no one buys a ticket to come to school and be bullied.”

Sixth-grade student Sophia Baldrige said she believes that, like the characters in the presentation, some students come to school worried about the potential for bullying. Now, she said she has more hope after hearing from The Lost Hollows characters.

“After this, I hope that if they are a bully, they’ll stop,” Baldrige said.

“If they’re being bullied, I hope they’ll be brave and tell a teacher and if we see something, I hope we’ll all stand up for each other.”

Sabra Soileau, Calcasieu School Board behavior and discipline district coordinator, said the district chose to partner with “Don’t Be Monster” because of its relevance to a preteen audience.

“It’s really good for the middle schoolers attention,” she said. “Every school that we go to, I can watch their faces and see them engage.”

Soileau said the district sees typical “mean behavior” between students. But she said technology is introducing more “next-level behavior,” particularly with cyberbullying, which often happens outside of school hours.

To prevent cyberbullying, Soileau recommended parents keep a close eye on children’s media and know their passwords for devices and apps.

“A lot of times we don’t know what’s going on,” she said.

“It’s easy for us to see someone pushing someone and harder for us to know what’s going on in a device that we have no access to.”

She also advised parents to be aware of “pseudo accounts,” “hiding apps,” and she also advised parents to watch their children’s reaction as they engage with technology.

The Keeper of the Hollows invited students to start their own kindness crusade or club at their schools. The Lost Hollows will host an invitationonly celebration at the hollows in honor of students who start a club.

To report a kindness club, email mgmt@thelosthollows.com.