Falls schools work to end social isolation

Feb 17, 2019

Social isolation happens in many schools across the nation, including Niagara Falls. In an attempt to foster a better culture, Niagara Falls School Superintendent Mark Laurrie, staff and students participated in a national movement last Friday called "No One Eats Alone Day."

Niagara Falls Schools Superintendent Mark Laurrie
Credit WBFO News File Photo

When a child is sitting alone at a cafeteria table, Laurrie said he's asking monitors and other students to find out why.

"From time to time, students will want to be by themselves. You respect that. But if you start to see a pattern, then you start to ask questions," Laurrie said. "You may prompt a trained student to go over and say why don't you join our table and make them feel welcome."

Niagara Falls schools partnered with Fidelis Care in designing workshops for students where they were given the tools to be more accepting of those who may feel left out.

"They were really engaged. We didn't have to do ice-breaker activities to get them to cooperate," Laurrie said. "They met different kids. They spoke out. The power of their voices was heard."

Laurrie said social isolation is preventable and that "No One Eats Alone Day" was a positive step in changing the culture to make schools more welcoming.