Anti-bullying messages in Fayette County, KY buses, cafeterias
Now on Fayette County, KY school buses, one can find a sign that reads, “Bullying ... Not In Our School.”
Jerry Cerel, board member of Bluegrass Crimestoppers, took action in order to establish safer buses. Cerel approached the Fayette County Public Schools’ law enforcement director, Chris Townsend, about placing placards in every bus in order to prevent bullying. "The purpose is not to place charges against people, but to encourage reporting," Townsend told the Lexington Herald-Leader. “If someone does report a case to law enforcement, we will refer it to the counselor in the school it pertains to. But if law enforcement intervention is warranted, the school will let us know.”
The article points out that most bullying cases are not reported. But Jan Hatfield, Safe Schools Support Specialist for Fayette Schools believes that “by having these posters out there, it's kind of a reminder, right there in your face, to let somebody know."
The signs also point students to where they can get help, including contact information for law enforcement. Cerel says Crimestoppers has been talking about addressing bullying for years, and now hopes to translate the sign into Spanish and place placards in school cafeterias.
Recently the National Education Association shared a slideshow that addresses bus bullying. Check out the slideshow, “The Road to Safer, Calmer School Bus Environments” by James Kraemer of SafeSchools.org here.
Storytelling for Healing
This summer, the Fetzer Institute sponsored an initiative called Flip Your Script, which helps students use storytelling to approach painful pasts with forgiveness and compassion. At Not In Our School, we deal with a number of students who have dealt with bullying and hate incidents, and this innovative program offers one approach to addressing these issues.
Flip Your Script is a writing program started on college campuses, and encourages students to retell events through the perspective of the person who caused them harm. “My students this fall found themselves exploring very painful life stories,” writes Claudia Ricci, noting that they worked on “transforming them, re-telling their life tales from another point of view.” Ricci, a professor at the University of Albany-SUNY, wrote an article in the Huffington Post in 2011 about a writing assignment similar to Flip Your Script that she planned to use in her course on Happiness. For more information, visit the Fetzer Institute.
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