Be aware and prepare, October is anti-bullying month in the state of Kentucky! In our schools there have been over 15,000 incidents of bullying reported last school year.
The Kentucky General Assembly passed Senate Bill 20 during this year's legislative session. It declares October as Anti-Bullying Awareness Month and is intended to highlight the harmful consequences of bullying. In this bill, the designation of a purple and yellow support ribbon as the anti-bullying symbol started with a grass roots effort from Madison County Middle School students.
Kentucky Center for School Safety encourages schools across the commonwealth to merge this observance with Kentucky Safe School Week which is held the third week of October 19-25, 2014. In an effort to have resources for this campaign ready for the whole month of October, Kentucky Center for School Safety proudly introduces this year's theme, "Lean On Me; STOP the Bullying!"
This year's theme focuses on the culture of the school and the interdependence of students and staff to make their school safe, warm and welcoming. Within this overall culture students will be encouraged to support each other, connect with the staff and be diligent as they watch out for others in need. Fundamental to the "LEAN On Me" concept is straight from the song lyrics, "sometimes in our lives we all have pain and we all have sorrow" learning to depend on fellow classmates, trust the adults at school and to treat others well. This "culture of kindness" will support the subtitle of "STOP the Bullying" by getting to the root of the problem before episodes escalate.
During this week, all Kentuckians will be urged to improve the safety of our schools by educating students, staff and community members about current issues such as connectivity, social well-being, bullying, cyber-bullying, conflict and self-harm. Connectivity in a welcoming school environment can be nurtured and improved through various activities, lessons and professional development. The concept of students connecting with school staff is essential for a learning environment. Treating others as one wants to be treated goes back to basic kindness and respect. Learning to step up and support others who are in need can be as easy as leaving an online tip. Students can be a "Silent Hero" and help without getting involved if they fear retaliation.
The Kentucky Center for School Safety offers to partner with schools and provide a "free" online reporting tool, the S.T.O.P! TIPLINE. The tip line encourages students, parents or community members, who know of an unsafe situation in school (bullying, weapons, drugs or alcohol, etc.), to anonymously pass on that information to school personnel by using a digital format. Check it out at www.kycss.org/stop/resources.php In anticipation of Safe Schools Week our website supplies a variety of teaching aids including an online "L.E.A.N. Pledge," PowerPoint presentations, lessons, interactive websites and much more. Resources will also be available for school administrators, parents and community involvement at www.kysafeschools.org/ssw.php
THE ONLINE L.E.A.N! PLEDGE
I pledge to:
- Lean on others in my school when I need help, and allow others to lean on me!
- Excel at treating all students and staff how I want to be treated!
- Achieve relationships with adults in my school so I will feel safe.
- Notice and report when another needs help; tell an adult, send an online tip or use a bully/tip box.
The Kentucky "Lean On Me: STOP the Bullying" campaign is sponsored by the Kentucky Center for School Safety. This observance coincides with the national campaign. America's Safe Schools Week is sponsored by the National School Safety Center. "Connecting our students and staff in a positive way is fundamental to safety and security in our schools. The "Lean On Me" campaign can draw our schools closer together and improve the culture on our campuses. "We urge your district to actively become involved during October 19-25th. Let's commit and celebrate Kentucky Safe Schools Week in our schools and communities. Support the need to focus on school safety, this week and all throughout the year." said Jon Akers, Executive Director, KCSS.