FORT ANN, N.Y. – All schools deal with the issue of bullying, but one local school district is taking proactive steps to stop and prevent it from happening within their school walls.
The changes to the Fort Ann CSD come as the school responded to parents after numerous complaints of officials not doing enough when it comes to bullying and racism in school.
Anti-bullying signs are posted throughout the school district. The Superintendent tells NEWS10 ABC it is because they've adopted a new anti-bullying program to stop and prevent bullying from happening in school.
Maureen VanBuren, the Superintendent of the district says “If one child has been bullied, it's one child too many.”
Fort Ann's staff is learning what to look out for when it comes to bullying. It's all a part of the nationally recognized Olweus Prevention program.
“We are trying to teach everyone how to intervene on the spot.” Says VanBuren
That is one of the goals of the program along with creating a more tolerant and respectful environment. And it's not just a program that students will be participating for a few weeks.
The superintendent says it's a district-wide effort in and out of the classroom, trying to change the school's climate to make it safer and more positive. She continued, “students often don't intervene not because they don't want to, but because they are afraid or don't know how to.”
As part of the program, students will meet weekly or bi-weekly to learn about the effects of bullying, what they can do about it and how they can be up-standers instead of bystanders.
“We want all kids to love coming to school and be excited to come here every day and if they aren't excited we want to know why. And if it is because of bullying we want to make sure we handle that so they love this place as much as we do,” said Nichole Huskie.
Huskie, a science teacher at Fort Ann, is one of the handful of staff members a part of the program's committee.
The superintendent says one change that many schools have noticed after using the program for a year or two is that students actually like school better.
The anti-bullying program is also getting other faculty members involved like bus drivers and custodians and even parents.