HERRIN (WSIL) -- Herrin Elementary School School Social Worker Michelle Coriasco works with students all day, helping them learn character building and other essential social emotional skills.
"Throughout this pandemic, I am seeing students really struggling with anxiety, and connection and attachment. They're out of the habit of being in school," said Coriasco.
Part of the curriculum for Herrin students district wide is the Character Strong program.
"Character strong is a holistic approach to understanding others, understanding ourselves, having empathy, patience, kindness," Coriasco said.
The program teaches characteristics that help combat and help students deal with bullying in a new approach.
"In the past we would advise kids to walk away, ignore it, just suck it up, let it go. Now it's more important to tell someone. Talk about it. Having feelings is ok. Dealing with your feelings is very important," said Coriasco.
The pandemic had many affects on children, especially with not being in school.
Now that most are back, teaching about bullying and it's affects are important of student's wellbeing.
"It's important to address bullying because it can have a lot of negative effects on a person. It can cause them to have anxiety and depression, lack of appetite, lack of motivation," said Coriasco.
One of the most important tips Coriasco has for parents, is help kids feel empowered and deal with bullying in a heathy way.
"Build them up to where they feel good about themselves, which I know is not easy to do but you do want to empower your children to be able to handle difficult situations. Many times we say 'tell an adult' which is important, but we also want to teach kids how to handle situations on their own, which is empowering. And we can guide them through that," said Coriasco.