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Henry expands anti-bullying program

Published: August 23, 2007 08:22 pm

Henry expands anti-bullying program

By Johnny Jackson

As the new school year ratchets up a notch, schools are looking to prevent the lesser-talked-about roadblocks in education.

fall, the Henry County School System plans to gradually expand its
Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, an attempt to stop problematic
bullying before it starts.

“We have seen an increase in the
cyber-bullying that takes place among teenagers,” said Robyn Mullis,
principal at Union Grove Middle School. “Some forms of bullying are
more subtle than others. (But) all types of bullying are damaging —
just in different ways.”

The Olweus program is geared toward
reducing and preventing bullying problems in elementary and middle
schools to help improve peer relations.

“I have found that low
self-esteem tends to be a factor for those that bully and those that
are bullied,” said Mullis, whose school will implement the program this
fall. “I believe that it is important for students to learn to respect
each other, respect their differences.”

Parents and teachers,
she said, can talk with their students about the causes of bullying and
ways to prevent it. Students should inform their parents and teachers
if they feel they are being bullied.

“Communication is the key to providing a safe and comfortable environment,” she added.

Olweus program, created by Dan Olweus of the University of Bergen in
Norway, designed to help teachers and administrators like Mullis
identify and address causes of bullying, has been implemented in more
than one dozen countries around the world.

The program is
currently in eight Henry County schools — Fairview, Hampton, McDonough,
Pate’s Creek, Stockbridge, and Wesley Lakes elementary schools, along
with Luella and Union Grove middle schools. It will begin in four other
schools that will undergo training on Sept. 26-27.

to Family Resource Coordinator Anna Arnold, the schools have a team of
people ranging from school personnel to parents who are given two days
of training in the program.

“The heart of the Olweus
philosophy is empowering bystanders to act against bullying,” Arnold
said in a statement Thursday. “Less than 10 percent of students are
active participants in bullying incidents. The Olweus mission is to
convince the other 90 percent or more to not tolerate bullying
behavior, and to take certain steps when they encounter it.”

along with Matt Isenberg of Stockbridge Middle School, also is a
nationally-certified Olweus Bullying Prevention Trainer.

actions as educators in reacting to bullying, connecting with youth,
modeling positive behavior and empowering bystanders to respond in a
variety of ways, are the keys to reducing bullying in school and the
foundation of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program,” said Arnold. He
also is the system’s Safe and Drug Free Schools coordinator.

Olweus program complements such anti-bullying and conflict-resolution
programs as “Love and Logic” and “Good Touch, Bad Touch” implemented at
schools throughout the school system.

“The Olweus Bullying
Prevention Model is the NO. 1 bullying prevention program in the
world,” Arnold said. “We expect to see great results from our efforts
as we move toward becoming an Olweus Bullying Prevention school

The Henry Daily Herald
38 Sloan Street, McDonough, GA 30253



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