Department of Education Recognized for Bully Prevention

Jefferson County highlighted in National Webinar

Jefferson County Department of Education has been recognized for its program on Bully Prevention. Mandy Schneitman, Director of Student Support Services for the school system, stated that Jefferson County was invited to be one of the highlight schools for a Nationally viewed webinar on bully prevention. The subject of bully prevention has been on the forefront in Jefferson County and the Department of Education has been identified as one of the forerunners in preventive strategy. In response to legislation passed several years ago regarding teen suicide, Jefferson County took its focus to one of the contributing factors in teen suicide-bullying. The Department of Education looked for progressive bullying prevention programs and invested in the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, which provides support and training for administrators, teachers and parents. An integral part of the program is educating adults on the parameters of appropriate peer behavior and learning to distinguish between typical conflict and bullying. Schneitman stated that the elements that comprise a healthy environment that is conducive to learning are much the same as those that prevalent in a happy and stable family environment. It is important for students to have the skills to deal with conflict and for administrators and teachers to be able to identify with behavior has crossed the line into bullying. Administrators, teachers and parents have formed committees that take the anti bullying program into the schools. Jefferson County has been very successful in its efforts to curtail the bullying incidents. Students are engaged in discussions in classroom meetings. These meetings give students the opportunity to bring to light concerns and allow the staff the time to share techniques in handling bullying situations. Administrators and teachers are also more aware of the individual student’s needs and climate of the school and classroom. Student questionnaires support that Jefferson County students are more aware of bullying and that awareness transfers to peer support. They also provide valuable information for teachers and administrators, such as hot spots for bullying. Schneitman and the Department of Education are pleased that the hard work of staff and students is being recognized. The webinar will be used as a tool for other systems across the Nation. This year, the Tennessee Legislature is putting the focus State Wide on bullying and all schools are now required to have bully prevention training. Jefferson County Department of Education is a spotlight County for bully prevention and education and the County is already immersed in, and reaping the benefits from, a program that is a recognized leader in the field of bully prevention. The invitation to participate as a focus school in the National webinar is a nod to the success of the program and the dedication of the system to bully prevention.

Source: K. Depew, News Director