Here at PALCS, we strive to create a safe environment. Bullying is an extremely sensitive topic, but it is important that our entire community feels supported. Our School Counseling Department has a fantastic team of people that help to create this safe and loving environment, such as Mrs. Shavaun McGinty, our Supervisor of School Counseling.
Meet Mrs. McGinty
Mrs. McGinty has been with PALCS almost since the beginning. She started during the 2007-2008 school year as the school’s first dedicated elementary school counselor. Mrs. McGinty has her Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology with a School Counseling certification.
She is also a certified grief counselor, and serves part-time as a mental health therapist with the Peacemaker Center. With her background in counseling and mental health, this month of raising awareness against bullying is something that is near and dear to her heart, as she sees the effects it can have on students every day.
The Fight Against Bullying
The fight against bullying all starts with acts of kindness. Mrs. McGinty, shares that her favorite quote is “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.” She comments, “I try to be proactive in catching people in the act of doing something good and letting them know that I noticed. I know how much it means to me when someone passes along a nice comment. So I try to do the same for others. We all need a little encouragement from time to time. One nice comment can go a long way to making someone feel appreciated or noticed.”
Our School Counseling Department is organizing ways to promote kindness & positivity for our entire PALCS community this month.
Every year, PALCS celebrates Unity Day. This day is dedicated to encouraging staff and students to wear orange & unite against bullying. Orange is a bright, bold color that demands to be seen “We post group photos of staff at each of our locations in their orange gear and post pictures that students send to us. It’s nice to have visuals of our entire school community coming together to unite against bullying. One of my favorite memories is when we used a drone to take an overhead picture of staff and families spelling out the word “Unite” at the fall picnic one year (2016). I keep this picture on my office door as a reminder of that day,” Mrs. McGinty shares.
Each grade counselor will also be devoting their virtual lessons this month to the topic of bullying prevention. The School Counseling Department is hosting a “31 Days, 31 Ways” campaign, in which students are encouraged to post short videos on how they promote kindness or what they can do to help put an end to bullying.
Mrs. McGinty has some tips and insight on how students can speak up & take part in putting a stop to bullying. “The scenarios differ of course, but in general, we encourage students to be an “upstander” not a bystander. When students witness bullying, they can confront the bully by saying something like: “Leave him alone. He didn’t do anything to you.” If students don’t feel comfortable saying something to the bully, they can contact a trusted adult for help.”
The first step to stopping bullying, is to spread kindness & positivity, even to just one person. Mrs. McGinty says the easiest way to start change, is simply to say hello to someone. “When students see someone sitting alone, they can approach the person and introduce themselves. Sometimes a simple hello can be the beginning of a brand new friendship. If students don’t feel comfortable speaking to the person, they can simply share a smile.”
Our School Counseling Department hopes that this month will help spread more kindness & raise awareness against bullying. Mrs. McGinty and the entire School Counseling Department are here to help any student who needs a listening ear. “We hope students feel comfortable approaching their school counselor. We are here for them via phone, email or Canvas message. Every student deserves to feel safe. We can help.”
To meet the School Counseling department visit their biography pages here.