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Respect Lessons Continue: Hopatcong Students 'Connect' for Anti-Bullying Summit

The summit's theme, 'Connect with Kindness,' was suggested by Sparta Middle School students, who also celebrated Respect Week in early October.

Hopatcong Middle School  in Patch file photo
Hopatcong Middle School in Patch file photo
Life lessons—especially those teaching kindness toward others—returned to Hopatcong Middle School following this month's highly successful Respect Week, says Gina Cinotti, director of guidance for Hopatcong Borough Schools.

Wednesday featured a return of the Center For Prevention's Positive School Climate Summit to Hopatcong Middle School. Students spent a portion of the day gathered for a school assembly on the theme of "Connect with Kindness," which came from area kids: The focus of the summit was suggested to the CFP by students at Sparta Middle School and their advisor Maggie Dock.

Cinotti, who serves as the district's anti-bullying coordinator, told Patch that the Hopatcong Borough Schools look forward to the annual character education offering.

"The Center for Prevention holds the event every year and asks Sussex County middle schools to participate," she said. "Hopatcong always participates and it turns out to be a wonderful experience for everyone, especially our students."

She said Wednesday, for students and staff alike, was no exception.

Respect Week, which was held in Hopatcong and Sparta schools during the first full week of October, is a series of character education instructional efforts mandated by the approximately three-year-old New Jersey law intended to reduce incidents of harassment, intimidation and bullying in the schools. Cinotti said HMS' participation in the Positive School Climate Summit is an extension of the district's anti-HIB efforts.observe the week by providing age-appropriate instruction focusing on preventing harassment, intimation or bullying (HIB).

Building a healthy, nurturing school climate isn't a lesson only going to middle schoolers, however. Students from Hopatcong High School showed off the character-building skills they have mastered—and likely reinforced those skills too—by taking part in Wednesday's anti-bullying summit as volunteers to help the younger kids as they experienced the day.

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