I want to take this opportunity to update the community on the district’s bullying prevention efforts. There has been a great deal of attention in the national media, and we want the parents and community members to know from preschool through 12th grade, the district’s staff, counselors and administrators have been working daily to implement anti-bullying programs and strategies in all of the schools.

The North Ridgeville Board of Education has adopted an aggressive Bullying Prevention Policy, and the district’s administrators address every concern brought before them with the utmost urgency. However, this must be a collective effort of students, staff, parents and the community working together.

Prevention and intervention are the two key elements to addressing and stopping bullying in our

society. The guidance and administration teams have implemented prevention plans and intervention strategies district wide. Teaching empathy, the ability to have compassion towards others and building healthy relationships are the focus of the anti-bullying strategies used in the district. Through classroom guidance

lessons and teacher reinforcement, we begin teaching empathy in kindergarten and build on it throughout every grade level.

From time to time, newsletters are sent home to parents with information to assist them in teaching and reinforcing empathy at home. We ask your assistance in talking to your child about bullying. Bullying is not the same as name-calling. Neither are acceptable behaviors, but bullying goes further, goes on longer and is a repeated pattern of behaviors.

Staff members are also trained in relationship building with their students. Building healthy relationships helps students to learn how to treat each other. It also teaches students how to deal with conflict appropriately when it arises. Students who have healthy adult relationships at school and home are less likely to become victims of bullying or bullies.

Intervention is the other key component to addressing bullying. We are emphasizing reporting bullying through various forms of communication. Bullying is not a bystander sport in our schools. At all grade levels, students are being taught how and when to report bullying. Teaching students to become active and appropriate defenders of those being bullied is a necessary factor to a successful intervention program.

Throughout the school year, parents will be receiving communication about the various programs we are using and tips to help them. If you have a concern about your child being either a bully or a victim, immediately contact your child’s school. Principals, assistant principals and guidance counselors are all on hand to deal with these issues – but they can only deal with issues about which they know.

It is North Ridgeville City School District’s belief parents, community members and schools working together can result in a school and society that are safe and happy places for all students. If you have any questions, please contact my office at (440) 353-1108.

By Craig T. Phillips, superintendent, North Ridgeville City Schools

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