Archive for Monday, February 25, 2008

Administrators to report on anti-bullying program

February 25, 2008

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Four Lawrence elementary schools have made strides under a bullying-prevention program, and administrators are working on expanding it to other schools.

Woodlawn, Prairie Park, Langston Hughes and Sunflower schools have been working under a method known as the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program.

"They're sort of providing the Cadillac of bullying-prevention services," said Chris Squier, a mental health services facilitator for the district.

The program has been proven to reduce disciplinary referrals and conflict among students, she said. Overall, it's part of a district initiative to prevent bullying behavior, and administrators will give a report to board members about their efforts during the 7 p.m. meeting today at district headquarters, 110 McDonald Drive.

Squier said schools would tailor plans to fit their own needs, but they focus on a basic nine-step framework. It includes raising awareness among teachers and students about what constitutes bullying.

"Schools have bullying policies in place, but this effort is more comprehensive," Squier said. "It will take not only efforts of the building staff but also of the students and the parents. Everybody needs to be working together."

Lawrence administrators have worked on implementing research-based strategies at the schools.

Squier said national statistics show that bullying is more prevalent than adults suspect. She also said bullying can leave its mark into adulthood.

The administrators are working to create a school climate that makes it "become 'uncool' to bully and 'cool' to help out students who are bullied."

"It helps the kids, even starting as young as grade school, to be able to recognize that kind of behavior and to come to the support of the victim," school board president Linda Robinson said.

During tonight's meeting, board members also are expected to give final approval to boundary changes for the Gaslight Village Mobile Home Park, 1900 W. 31st St. Students in the park would be transferred from Southwest Junior High School, 2511 Inverness Drive, to South Junior High School, 2734 La.

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