Suffolk Public Schools joins both a state and national focus this month to promote awareness of school bullying. The Suffolk School Board passed a resolution last month to demonstrate how educators, community leaders and parents play a critical role in creating a climate where bullying is not tolerated. It has been proven that when adults and children stand together bullying ends.
Childhood bullying is a significant problem nationwide. It can cause school absenteeism, mental and physical stress, poor school performance, poor self-esteem, and in some cases, school violence or suicide. Statistics show that 160,000 children in the United States miss school each day as a result of being bullied. More than 20 percent of school-aged children report being bullied each year – upwards of 13 million students.
“More than one of every five school-aged children report being bullied,” said Julie Hertzog, director of PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, which sponsors Unity Day and founded National Bullying Prevention Month in 2006. “It’s important these students know they are not alone and that they have the right to feel safe. By joining together and wearing ORANGE on Unity Day, we can send the unified message that we care about student’s physical and emotional health and that bullying will no longer be accepted in this society.”
Schools throughout SPS will participate in Unity Day by wearing orange on Wednesday, October 24. The theme is “Together against Bullying: United for Kindness, Acceptance, and Inclusion.” Wearing orange on Unity Day sends a powerful message of support, hope, and unity again bullying.
The bullying prevention efforts in Suffolk Public Schools include school-level campaigns, classroom discussions led by guidance counselors, and an expanding school-wide programs which teach, model and provide incentives for positive behavior.
In addition, the division has an anonymous Bullying Tip Line — (757) 538-5438 – and an online Bullying Complaint form. Information on what SPS considers to be bullying is highlighted at www.spsk12.net/programs/bullying-prevention as well as in the Student Handbook and the Student Code of Conduct.