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Week of 1/10/11: Safe schools snippets

Dougco school creates its own anti-bullying campaign

Mesa Middle School student Kaitlyn Bentivegna, is the leader of a new anti-bullying campaign that has spread to schools outside of Colorado. Kaitlyn and a group of fellow students formed the Agents of Change. The group proposed Stop The Talk Day on Jan. 26 as a day when students will stop using their voice to spread gossip, rumors, or bully another student. The Emerson School in Dayton, Ohio, and Sherwoood Middle School in Portland, Ore., have pledged support and will participate in Stop The Talk Day, in a joint effort with Mesa. These schools have conducted Skype sessions with the Agents of Change to collaborate and form a leadership coalition for this anti-bullying campaign. To learn more, visit Stop the Talk.

N.J. mandates anti-bullying school policies

New Jersey Gov. Christie has signed an anti-bullying bill that advocates say is the toughest of its kind in the nation, giving a sense of progress to the people attending a conference dedicated to preventing suicide by gay young people. Read more in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Local firm warns parents about online anti-bullying programs

Denver-based School Safety Partners is urging parents signing up for online anti-bullying programs to first know the risks to their family’s privacy and the potential for increased personal liability.

Many software companies are offering computer programs that enable parents to monitor the online and social media activities of family members as well as their email and text messages. School Safety Partners claims that parents may be unaware of how personal information monitored through these services may be used by the companies. For example, parents may be required to grant the computer company irrevocable permission to publish any and all family communications monitored through the company’s service. Read this press release on the PRWeb.

The role of the bystander in preventing a targeted attack

In 1999, as a result of school shootings like those at Columbine High School, the United States Secret Service and the United States Department of Education initiated a study, the Safe School Initiative (SSI), which researched incidents of planned attacks in our schools. The SSI studied 37 incidents of targeted attacks in American schools and concluded that there were important key findings which indicated that future attacks can be prevented. Importantly, perpetrators exhibited behaviors prior to the attack that were of concern to others in 93 percent of the cases and others had prior knowledge of the perpetrator’s plans in 81 percent of the cases. Of those with prior knowledge (bystanders), 93 percent were peers of the perpetrator. Although this study only involved a small number of participants, its results indicate the important role that bystanders can play in thwarting future attacks. Read more in this Colorado Department of Education fact sheet.

Find more safe schools resources on EdNews Parent. You can also find these additional resources by clicking “learn more” under the topic buttons on the top of the home page.

Minneapolis school board passes stringent anti–gay bullying, pro-LGBT curriculum

In a unanimous vote by outgoing board members Tuesday evening, the Minneapolis School Board passed a resolution that significantly beefs up its LGBT curriculum and anti-bullying efforts. The resolution directs the school district to enhance its tracking of anti-LGBT bullying incidents as well as include LGBT themes in school curriculum. Read more in the Minnesota Independent.

About our First Person series:

First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays by educators, students, parents, and others trying to improve public education. Read our submission guidelines here.