Feb 19

A Battle with the Bullies…and we will WIN!

If you’ve been bullied before, chances are you’re not alone. In fact, bullying is a worldwide problem that has taken its toll on the U.S. What is most troubling is that there is no way of knowing who gets bullied.

Bullies are not respecter of gender, faith, race. They bully anyone they can. (Picture courtesy of http://edudemic.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/bullying-kids.jpg)

“People who get bullied tend to let others get away with it and don’t report”, said School Counselor Ms. Toucheque.

But how do we prevent this from happening? That’s the question that schools in the U.S are trying to find an answer for.

In recent years, studies have shown how damaging bullying can be. Many believe that the problem has increased and want to put an end to this tragedy. According to KidsInfoBits.com, nearly 30 percent of all teens report that they have been bullied. For gay teens, the scope of the problem is truly staggering–9 out of 10 gay teens say they have been bullied in school, often violently and relentlessly. However, gay teens aren’t the only people being bullied.

“Anyone that doesn’t fit the bully’s requirements is an absolute target to getting bullied”, said 7th grader Emilia Ambriz.

Bullying hurts! (Picture courtesy of https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRAT3pwNu0CpSSDhxYPwH0tMgjKdZ-Qg6-iABPnDvEkcj5vMsJBQQ)

However, it’s not just the victim who can report the problem; bystanders can do their part by reporting too. In fact according to KidsInfoBits.com,  85% of bullying acts have a bystander, but nearly 75% of them don’t do anything to help the situation. The bystander plays an important role when it comes to bullying. Each and everyone of us has been a bystander, because we’ve all witnessed someone being bullied. As a bystander we have the power to speak up and change things.

Furthermore, students are taught to ignore confrontations and walk away. But when students turn their backs on aggressive behavior they send a signal showing that bullying is okay. We all know that when we see bullying, we should stand up for the victim. But it’s not always easy to do so. People often do nothing because they’re scared of becoming the bully’s next target. The bystanders have to decide whether the situation is safe enough to step in.

Stop the bullies. Not only the victim, but also you the bystander, should report an incident. If you take pictures of an incident, use caution and share ONLY with an adult who can help, not other students. Otherwise, you would be hurting the victim yourself. (Picture courtesy of https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSmvafKudFgCTnUS_limY0tPjI_61JLp3GVZ7XMawcGF4xDj9PQ)

Luckily, schools across the nation are joining together to put a stop to bullying. Toucheque says here are ways you can stop bullying:

1. HELP OTHERS WHO ARE BEING BULLIED.

Walk or sit with them if they’re alone. Let them know you think bullying is wrong. Encourage them to talk to a teacher or another adult about it.

2. PREVENT GOSSIP FROM SPREADING.

Tell the person who is spreading the rumors that it’s wrong to do so. Think about how you would feel if people were talking about you.

3. GET FRIENDS INVOLVED.

Talk with your friends about bullying and about these tips.

4. BE AWARE OF YOUR SCHOOL’S BULLYING POLICY.

Ask teachers to speak to students about ways to reduce bullying incidents, especially in places where bullying often happens.

5. MAKE NEW STUDENTS FEEL WELCOME.

Think about how you would feel leaving your friends and going to a new school.

6.REFUSE TO BE A BYSTANDER.

If people are laughing with a bully, tell them they’re contributing to the problem. If your friend is doing the bullying, get him or her to move on to something else.

7. RESPECT OTHERS’ DIFFERENCES

Learn to tolerate differences, even if you don’t agree with the person’s choices.

8. JUST TALK

Talk to someone that you trust and can help you.

9. REPORT

If you don’t feel comfortable reporting in person, call Safe 2 Tell at 1-877-542-7299 or visit their website at safe2tell.org

10. BE INFORMED

For further information on bullying go to bullying.org

Feb 19

An Additional Layer of Defense

Following winter break, community members and parents were greeted at the door to Coal Ridge Middle School. Not by people, but by new security measures.

All visitors to Coal Ridge will need to buzz in to gain admittance.

“The new security system was a district decision, to be put in all of the schools,” said Mr. Young, Principal of Coal Ridge Middle School. “Every school is set to follow the same procedure.”

A new security device called the Aiphone system requires visiting community members to be buzzed in before entering the building, a several step process.

“The Aiphone System was already in several of our schools and the district decided to expand this security feature to all the schools. The Aiphone system creates an additional layer around securing our schools and controlling access. I do believe this will greatly enhance our overall security in the district. Visitor accountability is paramount in the overall safety of our schools,” said St. Vrain Valley School District Security and Emergency manager Stacey Davis.

All St. Vrain Valley School District elementary and middle schools are now locking their doors shortly after the start of school. Visitors will then have to ring a doorbell of sorts, followed by the office staff looking at the visitor on their monitor. The visiting community member will then have to present their ID and explain their purpose of entry.

“Parents should definitely make sure to state why they are there and have their identification ready,” said Mr. Young.

“After being let in, we ask for the name of the student they are here for. Then, we look at Infinite Campus for that student, and check that the visitor is included on the emergency contact list,” said Traci Banker, Secretary at Coal Ridge Middle School.

After being let in, the visiting community member will still have to sign in, allow their ID to be copied, and wear a visitor’s pass.

“The district is always looking for ways to enhance security in our schools without infringing on the overall educational environment. It is a fine balance in creating a safe school while maintaining a conducive learning environment,” said Ms. Davis.

There was a series of three meetings held at middle schools around the district regarding community safety, including one at Coal Ridge Middle School on Wednesday, February 6th.

According to Don Haddad, St. Vrain Valley School District’s Superintendent, the following subjects were addressed at the meetings:

  1. Current state law and District policy regarding school safety.
  2. Current structural and operational safety measures being utilized throughout St. Vrain Valley schools.
  3. Addressing parent/community questions, suggestions, and concerns regarding school safety.
  4. Providing information regarding how parents and students can assist school personnel in strengthening school safety.

“We appreciate everyone’s support as we implement new measures designed to enhance the safety of our students, staff, and community,” said Mr. Haddad.

For more information on safety both in and out of school, pick up a “Keeping Our Children Safe” pamphlet in the front office at Coal Ridge Middle School.