Not Nice: Part 2

At T.C. Cherry Elementary, they're bringing manners back to the basics.

"We've talked about eye contact when you're talking with someone, and the politeness in that," Principal Judy Whitson said.

At the morning assembly the children learn what they're going to work on for the day.

"I will just say, today we're going to work on 'yes ma'ams' and 'no ma'ams', 'yes sirs' and 'no sirs', things like that, and I remind them", Whitson said.

Principals and teachers also said students are receiving mixed messages, whether it's through the media, at home or even something they witness in everyday life.

"As a society we seem to be a very aggressive and angry society from road rage to the most outrageous things that are going on in the community," said Margie Evans, the school's counselor.

T.C. Cherry has a program called Second Step that deals with empathy and sympathy.

"Kids are so egocentric in that it's always about me, so if you can get them to understand the diversity and other people's perspective then you're much more likely to effect change," Evans said.

They're also trying to teach the students that what may be acceptable both outside and inside the home may not be acceptable in the classroom.

"Those neighborhood things that may be acceptable in their neighborhood, whether it's ugly language or whether it's taking up for themselves, it's not acceptable in school," Whitson said.

The school also teaches the students how to deal with the roller coaster of emotions they'll experience throughout life.

"It's normal to be mad, but it's not normal to call people names; it's not not normal to hit people; it's not normal to do the more violent things," Evans said.

"The older they get the longer it takes them to get anything, so if we don't start at the very young age with our kindergarten children and carry it on up through, then it's going to be a much harder job," Whitson said.

The teachers hope the students take these skills with them, so they'll remember how to act when they grow up.

"It doesn't make any difference what they know, if they don't know how to act when they get in that interview room or when they go into that building," Whitson said.

T.C. Cherry also has a program called Cherry Champs. This program awards children for model behavior in and out of the classroom.

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