New Salem-Almont principals say bullying intervention program is making a difference

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StopBullying.gov reports that 20 percent of students aged 12 to 18 experience various types of bullying.

The New Salem-Almont School District recently included a classroom intervention that it says is helping make a difference.

“Nowhere is perfect. We are going to see things and children being mean to each other. We’re really trying to model what we want to see from kids and just give them tools to teach them a lesson, ”said Lauren Bennett, Principal of Prairie View Elementary.

New Salem-Almont School District Councilor Amanda Wald Says Bullying Didn’t always happen.

“We have a lot of students who label bullying as a conflict situation when they just need help,” Wald said.

Wald teaches things like conflict resolution, acts of kindness, and relating to students, which she says are effective.

“We teach children how to defuse situations with resilience, we teach children to stand up for themselves,” Wald said.

But now, with the technology at the fingertips of students, bullying often happens through social media. According to StopBullying.gov, the latest survey finds that 14% of students have been the victims of electronic bullying.

Emily Schmid, a grades 7-12 math teacher, says students don’t always understand the damage cyberbullying causes.

“They really don’t realize that it’s going to be online all the time, and I see the reaction that it’s going to affect the other person,” Schmid said.

And when it comes to punishing harassment, Wald says it depends on the situation.

“If it was that bad, we could suspend the kids in or out of school and involve the parents as well,” said Wald.

To help prevent bullying, students are taught five days a week to be kind, resilient, and be an overall better person.

School leaders say they are working on a new system that will allow students to anonymously report bullying and other inappropriate behavior. They say the new system will be available next spring.


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