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Summit Hill Schools Aim to Prevent Bullying With New Programs

Summit Hill Junior High School and Hilda Walker Intermediate School have both introduced new bullying prevention initiatives in recent months.

Summit Hill School District 161 is expanding its approach to bullying prevention and awareness with several new programs and initiatives in the 2012-13 school year.

Summit Hill Junior High School is currently promoting multiple ways for students to report instances of bullying anonymously.

SHJH Principal Pam Hodgson said that anonymity is important to junior high-aged students who might feel pressured not to be “the snitch,” and that the new incident reporting options accommodate those needs.

Students who want to report an incident can do so by filling out a form online, which is then emailed to a counselor. Concerned students can also call a phone number that connects to the school social worker’s voicemail to leave an anonymous message.

“They can make the right choice,” said Hodgson. “Without having their peers look poorly upon them.”

The school counselor and social worker at SHJH visited classrooms to discuss bullying prevention earlier this year. All students recently signed a pledge against bullying.

SHJH is currently promoting its new slogan to prevent bullying, “Make the right choice,” and staff and faculty wear anti-bullying T-shirts every Wednesday.

Hodgson said that the new initiatives have been well received, and that bullying incident reports have increased since the anonymous reporting options were introduced.

Expenses generated by the school’s efforts include $400 for magnets printed with the anonymous report web address and phone number, which were covered by grant funding. The staff and faculty anti-bullying T-shirts cost $500 and were paid for by SHJH SCO, a parent organization.

Hilda Walker Intermediate School has also seen success with new avenues that allow students to report bullying anonymously.

Students at Hilda Walker can report instances of bullying online or submit a written incident report to the school’s “S.O.S. box.”

“When children are safe, they’ll be more comfortable and focused,” said Hilda Walker Principal Mike Ruffalo.

The student council at Hilda Walker is conducting classroom visits to discuss reporting methods and spread awareness about bullying prevention.

Hilda Walker also uses a rewards program to create a culture of respect. Students who follow expectations receive merchandise and other incentives for their exemplary behavior.

This year’s new programs are not the district’s first efforts to prevent bullying.

District 161 officially implemented PBIS, or Positive Behavior Intervention System, during the 2010-11 school year. The program promotes the phrase “Stop, walk away and tell a teacher.” PBIS also encourages students to be responsible, respectful and safe.

PBIS receives grant funding to cover the cost of district workshop participation and training. The annual cost of the program varies, depending on the district’s yearly training needs.

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Metro April 01, 2013 at 04:16 AM
Getting rid of Mary Kenny, Denise Wildeveld and Joy Murphy was a great way to stop the bullying!!!!
informed April 01, 2013 at 06:59 AM
Metro, (Sean Doyle) You really need to get a life! You just don't stop....so sad.
Sumon Ali July 10, 2013 at 05:57 AM
Women are more frequently bullied than men. In fact, a survey by the Workplace Bullying Institute found that 62 percent of bullies were men and 58 percent of targets were women. The survey also revealed that the majority (68 percent) of bullying is same-gender harassment and that women bullies target women 80 percent of the time. http://bit.ly/bullies_suck

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