LITTLE FALLS, N.Y.--Teachers and students at Benton Hall Academy of the Little Falls school district unveiled a creative way to combat bullying and loneliness Wednesday.
Two new 'Buddy Benches' created by the high school's Project-Based Learning class were introduced to the elementary playground in a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The buddy benches are designed to get lonely children included in games and activities at recess. If a child doesn't have anyone to play with, they can sit on the bench. Other children then know the student is alone and can invite them to play.
"It isn't that kids always do that intentionally, they may not know if someone is sitting there, what is going on in their minds," Keith Levatino, the Little Falls superintendent said. "This concept of a buddy bench promotes and encourages the thought process.'
"It is important that they have some way to try to communicate with someone else," Elijah Shibley, one of the PBL students said.
As a quiet student, Shibley recalled the difficulties he had communicating his loneliness on the playground in elementary school.
"I never really did, so I think the bench probably would have been that way," Shibley said. " I just think it's important that, with all the bullying that goes on today, that kids have a place where they can make their friends."