By MELINDA KAPALIN
October is a great month for bully prevention. Schools are well established into their yearly routine and teachers have a better understanding of the students in their classes.
That is why October is a good month for National Bully Prevention efforts.
The National Education Association conducted a member survey in 2011 that showed 98 percent of teachers agreed that they play a vital role in reducing bullying in their school.
Teachers are the first line of defense and the NEA believes that “One caring adult can make all the difference.”
The NEA is promoting bully prevention by asking teachers, bus drivers, office staff, custodians and all other school employees to take the bully prevention pledge.
It is available on line and takes just a few minutes to pledge to help bullied students.
The NEA believes that every child is entitled to a safe and caring environment in which to learn and grow.
A school’s climate is the key to successful bully prevention.
From the moment a child gets on the school bus and throughout the day, the atmosphere of the school and personnel is critical to making sure each child feels safe.
When children feel safe at school, they can focus more on learning and less on emotional or physical dangers.
There are many programs that train teachers to recognize and address bullying issues.
The NEA also has lists of resources and programs that teachers can access on line or through workshops that are free of charge.
The Lake Area Recovery Center also provides ongoing training for schools staff and students that can make a difference in your school. Call 440-998-0722 for more information.
Bullying continues because good people don’t stop others from engaging in bad behavior.
It is important for teachers and school staff to set the tone for the school and to model champion behavior.
Being a champion means that you stand up for what is right and speak the truth about how bullying is not okay.
Being the champion and stopping the bully even when the bully is the straight A student or star athlete.
When students know that a teacher cares and won’t tolerate bullying behavior, the students can focus on the classroom work and grades can improve.
Students that don’t feel safe at school often miss more days, don’t participate in activities, and grades begin to decline.
Dropping out of school or moving to a home based program may seem like the only choice. Is it fair that the bully gets to stay in school and the student who is bullied feels the need to leave?
While there have been great strides in our state and around the country in bully prevention efforts, there are still children who are tormented every day and feel that no one cares.
It is time for all adults to become that “One caring adult who can make all the difference in a child’s life”.
Teachers and all school district employees are urged to go online to www.nea.org and make the bully free pledge.
Remember, education and prevention are keys to keeping our children safe and bully free.