Bullying Prevention Awareness Month

October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. The public schools of Albemarle County have a longstanding commitment to bullying prevention. The Board Policy regarding bullying can be read here. Albemarle was one of the first school divisions in the state to implement the Olweus Bullying Prevention program in elementary and middle schools. This year, our schools are fortunate to have support from the Safe Schools/Healthy Students program funded through a competitive grant from the U.S. Departments of Education, Health, and Justice. School staff participates in grant activities designed to help improve school climate, eliminate bullying behaviors, increase family support, and support mental health services for students with a need for those services. Parent education programs also are available to parent-school organizations through this grant and by contacting June Jenkins, grant project leader at 872-4567 or jjenkins@albemarle.org. She is based at the regional Commission on Children and Families office.

We know that young people can be hurtful to others. Despite our best efforts, we know that our schools continue to have situations in which a child has been bullied by another. No young person deserves to be picked on, harassed, or teased by others, for any reason, ever. It’s not okay inside or outside of school, including cyber-space. It’s our job as adults, both parents and educators, to supervise and teach children to learn appropriate social behaviors including how to work through disagreements, address conflicts, and solve problems in ways that are productive and lasting. We need to teach young people that respect for others who may differ from them is an expectation in our schools. When this does not happen, our teachers and principals need to intervene. If your child reports behaviors towards them that appear to be bullying, I expect teachers, counselors, and principals to follow through on addressing your concerns.

Children learn from us how caring community members behave. We adults need to monitor our own behavior to ensure we model respectful behaviors towards our young people. We need to model regard for all others. That’s what teachers do. Please join the Albemarle County Public Schools and the nation in participating in Bullying Prevention Awareness this October.

For more information on bullying:

Albemarle School Counseling Website Resources

Pacer Center, Champions for Children with Disabilities

Anderson Cooper 360 Teen Town Hall on Bullying: No Escape

Virginia Youth Violence Project