Rowan-Salisbury school officials undergo bullying training
Rowan-Salisbury School System administrators recently completed anti-bullying and harassment training.
Daniel Sevigny, of Rowan County Youth Services, discussed county services available to students who are victims of bullying and provided each school with a DVD regarding bullying.
Students within the school system and Salisbury's Police Cadet program created these videos during the summer.
Salisbury Police Chief Rory Collins discussed the impact and legal ramifications of bullying and harassment.
Benita Jones, attorney with Tharrington Smith law firm, provided an overview of the obligation and commitment of reporting and investigating bullying.
Principals Shonda Hairston, Kelly Withers, Dr. Beverly Pugh and Kristi Rhone attended training at The Southeastern Equity center and shared information in regards to bullying, harassment and discrimination.
Nathan Currie, assistant superintendent of administration, reviewed the district's bullying and harassment policy and Carol Ann Houpe, director of student services, discussed a new online bullying reporting system.
"We are excited that our school system will be launching an online bullying reporting system for all of our schools," Currie said. "This will be another tool for students, parents, and employees to report incidents of bullying at any time and anywhere."
Roger Dinwiddie, master Olweus bullying prevention trainer, discussed 10 strategies to minimize and eliminate bullying within the schools. They include:
• Focusing on the school environment
• Assessing bullying at school
• Gaining support from staff and parents
• Establishing a bullying prevention coordinating committee
• Training staff in bullying prevention and understanding the difference between normal conflict and bullying
• Enforcing and communicating school rules and policies related to bullying
• Increasing adult supervision in "hot spots"
• Gaining commitments to intervene consistently and appropriately in bullying situations
• Gaining commitments for a time of focus for some class time on bullying prevention
• Do not quit, continue the efforts over time.
Currie said as bullying continues to rise on both a local and national level, schools are faced with dealing with the verbal, physical and cyber abuse.
"I think we are trying to be as proactive and aggressive as possible in dealing with bullying and harassment," he said.
Currie said all schools are reviewing and rewriting their school improvement plans and developing goals to ensure their schools reflect a safe and nurturing environment.
"The Board of Education has taken a firm commitment in regards to bullying and harassment for both students and employees and have developed policies for training, investigations and has adopted a Code of Conduct to address disciplinary actions," he said.