Anti-bullying programs are working to take positive steps to end teasing in schools, say teachers and administrators.
To adhere to the state’s requirements and reduce incidents, many districts have incorporated anti-bullying programs into the curriculum.
Principal Kimberly Muir of Woodmere Elementary School in Eatontown said her district’s Responsive Classroom Program has reduced problematic behavior since its implementation three years ago. The program has delivered better teacher-student interaction, higher grades, and more polished social skills among the students, she said.
In all, Muir said the district spends $12,000 per year on the Responsive Classroom training and related anti-bullying programs.
“We have students take ownership of their learning, by having them help establish class rules at the beginning of the year,” Muir wrote in an email to the Asbury Park Press. “They practice social skills which vary by grade level, but would include things like making eye contact when you speak to someone, how to shake hands correctly, how to be an active listener and ask meaningful questions.”
In Middletown, school officials hold events like No Name Calling Week, School Violence Prevention Week, and various assemblies. Students sign “no bullying” pledges and learn prevention techniques in language arts, social studies and health classes.
There, the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights triggered district officials to hire six staffers to serve 12 elementary schools, said Superintendent William O. George III. Similar positions had been eliminated two years prior because of budget cuts and a reduction in state aid, he said. The cost to rehire was not felt by local taxpayers, because the anti-bullying mandate coincided with an increase in Middletown’s state aid, George said.
The superintendent could not estimate the total spent on anti-bullying programs there, because the costs were mixed into various parts of the district budget and were included within other staff responsibilities. The six staff members who were hired when the new anti-bullying rules went into effect also fulfilled other duties, he said.
George said the need extended beyond the school, and Middletown’s anti-bullying coordinator Victa McKenzie has led free training seminars with the township Recreation Department, parents and volunteer coaches for the Monmouth Athletic Club.
Read more about anti-bullying programs
Continue reading Positive Steps to End Teasing