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Chief’s Message - July 18, 2019

It is that special time of the year again when children and parents prepare in many ways to go back to school.  Even though a new year seems promising and exciting, some look at what is to come with anxiousness and concern.   

Many of us have had a brush with some form of bullying or another.  We heard grown-ups saying things like: this is normal behavior... it’s just part of life... toughen up your growing up... and of course - that’s just normal picking... and we as a community need to understand that it is not!

What was once associated with normal behavior among young people has been linked to violence and accounts for many tragic events, especially in today’s cyber society. Bullying is a serious act of violence that can leave painful and permanent psychological scars in the lives of individuals, families, schools and entire communities. Bullying is an aggressive behavior that occurs when a child is targeted by one or more of their peers with repeated negative activities to intentionally cause physical or emotional injury such as: name-calling, obscene gestures, teasing, threats, physical abuse, being excluded from events and activities, and the most notorious in today’s society…cyber bullying.

Recognize the signs before it becomes a problem and please follow these Back-To-School Tips for Parents:

  • Have a conversation with your children one on one.
  • Explain to your child(ren) that even small acts of teasing are wrong.
  • Encourage your child(ren) to express their feelings clearly, to say no when they feel uncomfortable or pressured, to stand up for themselves without fighting, and to walk away from dangerous situations.
  • Ask them what does cyber-bullying, sexting and grooming mean to them.
  • Ask them for advice about how you, the parent, can remain cyber safe online.  If you’re like most parents, your children may be more technologically savvy than you. 
  • Ask them how they would set up privacy controls on your phones and on their phones or apps.
  • Never threaten to take away their cell phones or gadgets.  They will feel they are being punished and may not open up to you.
  • Listen to your child(ren).  Provide affirmation and support before taking action.

Get involved with your PTA or community by having discussions about the policies and consequences about bullying. Be an active participant and communicate your concerns. Bullying is less likely to happen in schools where adults are involved and firm about stopping negative activities in their child(ren)’s school.  Help to develop programs to prevent bullying and promote safe school environment.

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