Schools and Libraries
January 27, 2014
Long Beach Middle School recently received a grant from Child Abuse Prevention Services to introduce a new program called Students United for Safe Schools. Through this grant, the school will be partnering with CAPS to empower students to help foster a school climate where everyone feels valued and respected. Vice Principal Theresa Taplin, who secured the grant, will also be supervising its administration.
At the launch of the program, approximately 20 percent of the student population participated in an anonymous SUSS survey to assess students' beliefs and attitudes regarding bullying behavior.
Sixty student leaders representing a broad sampling of the student population, who were hand-selected by guidance counselors, deans, teachers and administrators, participated in two 45-minute workshops. The workshops, facilitated by CAPS representative Kara Santucci, provided the students with useful leadership tools to empower them to help make their school a safe and inclusive place for everyone.
In the first workshop, Ms. Santucci spoke with students about what constitutes bullying, how it feels to be bullied and why bullying happens. She also discussed effective strategies they can use when they witness acts of bullying. In the second workshop, students broke into small teams, where they were presented with real-life scenarios of bullying incidents and asked to brainstorm possible solutions. Each team shared their solutions with the entire group.
Students will be involved in ongoing meetings with Ms. Taplin to discuss ways that they will use their newfound knowledge to continue to improve the climate of their school.
"At the conclusion of the second workshop, student leaders approached me full of ideas, ready to take action," said Ms. Taplin. "This grant will give us new tools to enhance our ongoing efforts to help our students stand together as a school community to reduce bullying behavior."
Other activities launched at Long Beach Middle School to empower students to make a positive impact on school climate include the Mix it Up Lunch, If You Really, Really Knew Me, No Name Calling Week, Character Counts Weeks, Bully Prevention Week, Fill My Bucket lunch activity and Morning Shout-Outs.