STAND UP to Bullying!
October is Bullying Prevention Month
Stand up if you’ve ever been bullied. I would assume that many of you would rise from your chairs in response. A large number of people, in some form or fashion, can recall a moment during their school years when they felt harassed, ridiculed, or ostracized. Now is the time to stand up once again to make a difference in preventing another child from bullying.
In Fort Bend ISD, we will be observing National Bullying Prevention Month in October, along with an extra emphasis on Bullying Awareness Week, October 8 – 12. We believe that every student has the right to an education in a safe learning environment, and the District’s Board of Trustees passed a resolution to that effect in January 2011. That resolution kick-started an on-going effort to raise awareness among students, staff, parents, and the community about issues related to bullying and how everyone needs to be involved to prevent and intervene with bullying behaviors.
We know that one of the best ways to prevent bullying is to create a climate at school, at home, and in the community that is positive, supportive, and empathetic. During October, all four of the Character Links traits we will focus on throughout the district will have a connection to bullying. During Bullying Awareness Week, students will be asked to sign a pledge saying they won’t engage in bullying, nor be a passive bystander if they see bullying occur. We will encourage acts of kindness toward others, tolerance of differences, and respect for each person.
Creating a positive atmosphere is why we promote the No Place For Hate™ Campaign, the Character Links program, as well as the Annual High School Diversity Conference. It is why for the past two years our counselors have focused on bullying prevention in their Developmental Guidance plans. Fort Bend ISD also implements the CHAMPS and FOUNDATIONS programs, which are designed to promote safe and civil classrooms and common areas of our schools, like hallways, bathrooms, and cafeterias. Our efforts to create that positive and prosocial environment recently resulted in the District being selected as the only National School District of Character in 2011.
However, despite our continuing efforts, bullying still occurs. What should you do if it happens to your child? A parent should contact the campus administrator, counselor, or teacher at your child’s school and report what you know. The administrator or counselor will help you to complete a form that documents your concerns. The administrator will then conduct an investigation to gather input from all sides to determine if bullying occurred and the extent to which the problem exists. If it is determined that bullying did occur, appropriate disciplinary actions will be taken, as well as steps to protect the student who was targeted. Information about counseling options will be shared with both the victim and the student who bullied.
Parents can find tips and information about warning signs on the District website under the Quick Links section on the Anti-Bullying and Internet Safety link. You will find helpful resources for supporting young people dealing with bullying, cyber-bullying, bullying of students with disabilities, and videos, as well as resources for children and teens.
In addition to being able to talk with teachers, counselors, and their parents, students in Fort Bend County also have access to TalkLine, a service of Crisis Intervention of Houston, Inc., that is available 24 hours a day, 365 days each year. TalkLine provides supportive hotline counseling and referrals, so students can get help for any problem they are experiencing, including bullying. The TalkLine number is 281.240.TALK (8255).
Let’s stand together – and stand up to bullying.
Dr. Bob Conlon
Director of Student Support Services