Counselors Work to Stop Bullying
While October 2016 marks the 10th anniversary of National Bullying Prevention Month, SPPS champions anti-bullying efforts every month of the year. The district’s 119 school counselors – 36 of whom are certified as Bully Prevention Specialists by the American School Counselor Association – work year-round to give students and staff the tools to prevent or respond to bullying.
This year, counselors in all elementary schools are presenting up to five bullying prevention lessons to students in each grade. Counseling staff members work with students and staff to support a common understanding of what bullying is, promote different ways to respond to bullying, and discuss how bystanders can intervene when they witness bullying.
Counselors also lead school-wide bullying prevention efforts in middle schools. They have implemented “listening lockers” in many middle schools: a school locker is converted to a message box that allows students to make anonymous reports on bullying.
The Where Everybody Belongs (WEB) program is another important middle school resource. Through this nationally-recognized program, 8th graders receive special training to act as positive role models, mentors and teachers who guide younger students. Schools report that WEB has improved school climate and created a greater sense of connection for the whole school.
Many high schools use Link Crew as a part of the Focus on Freshmen Initiative. Link Crew is a program to welcome freshmen and make them feel comfortable throughout the first year of high school. Juniors and seniors serve as mentors and leaders who help freshmen discover what it takes to be successful.
Through school-wide planning and comprehensive classroom guidance – and by modeling positive, respectful relationships with kids and other adults – school counselors play a fundamental role in creating safe and positive school climates.
For the latest updates on keeping schools safe, visit spps.org/safeschools.