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NEWS
Ascension Schools Implement Anti-Bullying Campaign
- 2012.12.04
For Immediate Release: Donaldsonville, La. – Creating a safe and non-threatening environment for optimal student learning is at the center of a new anti-bullying initiative underway in Ascension Parish Public Schools. "Recognize Bullying and Report it: Step Up & Stop It!" is the focus of the new awareness program now being implemented at campuses across the district. The program has been underway since the beginning of the school year and includes intensive training for teachers and staff members, including bus drivers and support personnel. "We want everyone, especially our parents and students, to know that anyone can come and report bullying, and when they do, we have procedures in place to investigate and to stop it," Superintendent Patrice Pujol said. "We believe bullying is about victimization and not conflict," Pujol added. "Our intent is to explain what bullying is so students and adults recognize it early. We are committed to creating cultures and climates of safety that are essential to the prevention of violence in our schools." “We are telling our students to ‘Talk to a Friend. Tell an Adult.’ Together, we can stop bullying,” she said. Pujol said the district also has partnered with Campus Crime Stoppers to give persons three ways to make anonymous reports: 1) Call 344-STOP; 2) Text cs225 plus a message to CRIMES (274637); or 3) Visit www.crimestoppersbr.com and click on the anonymous tip screen. District Coordinator of Student Services Linda Lamendola said the school system is enhancing its anti-bullying educational measures and intends to be a leader in anti-bullying education and prevention. Louisiana’s new Tesa Middlebrook Anti-bulling Act goes into effect in January 2013. Mandated by the 2012 Louisiana Legislature, it directs school districts to adopt and maintain a uniform policy that calls for ongoing anti-bullying measures that are integrated with a school's curriculum, discipline policies and other violence prevention efforts. It charges school districts with defining bullying behavior, training staff, notifying parents, reporting, investigating, preventing and creating overall awareness of the issue. According to Lamendola, bullying is defined as a pattern of one or more of the following: gestures; written, electronic or verbal communication; physical acts; and the repeated and purposeful shunning of or excluding of an adult or student. Lamendola said each school in Ascension Parish will utilize Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) as the framework for bullying prevention and intervention, and the schools’ PBIS Team Leaders will work as Prevention Coordinators to assess needs, document efforts and promote a positive school climate. In addition, Two "Fact Finders" at each school will be responsible for investigating formal complaints, and they will make recommendations to administrators regarding supports and or consequences, Lamendola said. This team will also be responsible for providing counseling and interventions and verifying that interventions were carried out, she said. Students who do not respond to interventions will be provided with additional counseling, social skills training and increased monitoring. Students will be provided intensive preventive strategies, including highly individualized interventions and school-family-community mental health supports, as needed, she said. Lamendola outlined the following strategies that Ascension Parish Public Schools will put into place: • Focusing on the social environment of the school, noting that it is "uncool" to bully and "cool" to help students who are bullied. Parents will be told to reinforce the message that “telling is not tattling," but rather, it is helping a friend • Assessing bullying through surveys to learn the type of common bullying and identify the "hot spots" • Promoting staff and parental support through education and awareness • Training school staff in bullying prevention and reporting • Establishing and enforcing school expectations and rules • Increasing adult supervision in "hot spots" • Intervening consistently and appropriately through each school’s "Fact Finders” • Focusing class time on bullying prevention by incorporating it into the curriculum • Sustaining these efforts over time, with no end date For more information about bullying and for parent tips visit www.stopbullying.gov.

Mailing Address  |  PO Box 189 Donaldsonville, LA 70346
Central Office  |  1100 Webster Street Donaldsonville, LA 70346  |  (225) 391-7000  |  (225) 257-2000
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It is the policy of the Ascension Parish School Board to provide equal opportunities without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, age, disabilities, or veteran status in its educational programs and activities. This includes, but is not limited to, admissions, educational services, financial aid, and employment.

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