Each year, 30 percent of students are the target of bullying and cyberbullying nationwide. According to Dr. Jason Peel, Director of Secondary Education at Milford School District, bullying is most common in grades six through ten. There are different types of bullying, including physical, verbal and social, which vary based on gender and age. In recent years, Dr. Peel said that there has been an increase in cyberbullying through social media and other online sites. In an effort to combat bullying in Milford schools, Milford Central Academy implemented a new anti-bullying program known as No Bully.
“No Bully is a national organization made up of educators, psychologists and lawyers who work ot decrease bullying in schools,” Dr. Peel said. “The No Bully organization has created the No Bully System that schools can adopt to use as an anti-bullying program. The system promotes a step-by-step process and set of interventions for teachers, school counselors and school leaders to use as a way of responding to bullying and harassment. The system is commonly referred to as a ‘Solution Team.’”
The Delaware Department of Education gave Milford Central Academy an opportunity to participate in a statewide grant to pilot the bullying program, Dr. Peel said. As part of the grant, there were two training sessions last year and a final training session at the beginning of this school year. The entire staff was trained in the overall program and how to address bullying throughout the day in the school. Ten teachers, administration and one school counselor have received the advanced training that allows them to lead the solution teas. Students were introduced to the solution teams through schoolwide lessons.
Dr. Peel says that the program has four levels. Level I is designed to prevent and interrupt bullying with everyone in the school community working together to do so. Level 2 is when a situation is checked in and referred to a Solution Coach. During this level, when a teacher or staff member discovers a bullying situation, they refer the student to a Solution Coach. During Level 3, the solution Coach, with the bullying target’s consent, convenes a Solution Team of students to bring the bullying to end. If any student is stuck in the role of bully or target, the Solution Coach follows up to facilitate a change in behavior. During Level 4, an Empathy Building Action Plan is put into place. If the prejudice is apparent in an entire class or grade, the Solution Team implements a plan to create a culture of acceptance.
Dr. Nancy Carnevale, Principal of Milford Central Academy, said that the program has been used to address eight bullying situations at the school this year and all of them were resolved completely. She said that the program has a 90 percent effectiveness rate.
“The No Bully System is a non-punitive approach to address bullying,” Dr. Peel said. “It addresses bully prevention as well as providing a response to active bullying. The program focuses on fostering student empathy for bullying victims and encourages bystander to actively stop bullying. There was also a parent training program in September to help parents understand the solution team process and how they can help support anti-bullying. We encourage parents to tell their children to report cases of bullying to school personnel or report it themselves on behalf of their child. They can educate their child on the different types of bullying and closely monitor their child’s use of social media.”
Milford Central Academy has implemented the program throughout the school and it has been met with tremendous success. Bot students and staff report that the program has provided an option for easing any bullying related tension and provides a sound process for responding to instances of alleged bullying. Parents can learn more about the program by visiting www.nobully.org.
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