National Bullying Prevention Month was observed in October giving the New Albany School District (NASD) an opportunity to share what administrators, counselors, teachers, and school nurses are doing throughout the school year to help prevent bullying within the schools.
According to experts, schools with organized anti-bullying programming are more likely to prevent bullying from occurring on school campuses and at school events. Anti-bullying programming in the NASD includes: staff training, bullying message lines, guest speakers, and a “bully-free” curriculum.
Administrators, counselors, and teachers received extensive training last spring and summer. This training provided them with information to equip them for developing “bully-free” classrooms and school campuses.
The NASD implemented the Bullying Message Lines in August at New Albany Elementary School (NAES), New Albany Middle School (NAMS), and New Albany High School (NAHS). The Bullying Message Line can be used by parents or students to report bullying incidents that occur at school. The phones are equipped to take voice mails and/or text messages regarding these incidents. It is important to include as much information as possible about the incidents when reporting information. These messages are kept in strict confidence.
In September, Dr. Allan Beane spoke to students in each of the three schools on how to recognize bullying behavior and how to prevent bullying from occurring in schools. Beane is an internationally recognized expert and speaker on bullying and is the author of The Bully Free Program. The student presentations by Dr. Beane were funded by the SHAPE Up!-Carol M. White Physical Education Grant.
Students at NAES use the Integrity Time Curriculum to teach character education, which includes bully-prevention during their weekly rotation. NAMS students receive two lessons per week regarding good character and anti-bullying. These lessons are a combination of “The Bully Free Program” curriculum, videos, and school nurse presentations in classrooms. Students at NAHS participate in a bully-free lesson every three weeks. These lessons are a part of The Bully Free Program written by Dr. Beane and are coordinated by NAHS Assistant Principal John Ferrell.
“Safety is our primary concern. We want our students to be in a safe, positive learning environment,” said Ferrell, who serves as the Bullying Prevention Coordinator for the school district. “Our administrators, teachers, and staff are committed to prevent and to stop bullying in our schools.”