Frederick County public schools aren’t waiting for National Bullying Prevention Month in October. Schools started the school year with a new digital form that makes it easier to report bullying and electronically submit the form. The school system also created a video about completing the new form. The message: FCPS takes all forms of bullying very seriously, and reporting it is important.
The forms are available not only from the FCPS website at www.fcps.org/bullyingform but are also linked from each school’s website and available in all school counseling and administrative offices. The video is on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGWPth-h65Y. All school counselors have information about bullying prevention and intervention activities.
FCPS also publishes bullying awareness and prevention tips in brochures and distributes curricular materials in schools. The materials emphasize that everyone has the right to feel respected and be treated with dignity. At FCPS we believe schools must be safe, provide an optimal environment for achievement and be free from violence, says FCPS Counseling and Student Support coordinator Janet Shipman.
“FCPS teachers are trained to establish clear behavior standards and make every effort to be aware of problems, provide proper guidance and supervision, and consistently and fairly enforce policies,” she says. “Bullying incidents, however, tend to occur out of sight of school staff. Research and experience show that a comprehensive approach that includes students and parents has the most promise in reducing bullying and the harm it causes. It is not helpful to simply tell a child to ignore bullying or encourage a child to fight the bully.”
Education and counseling interventions are key components for improving student behavior with regard to bullying, says Shipman, adding that FCPS has also posted Regulation 400-48 online at www.fcps.org. It describes the student complaint process for addressing behaviors such as bullying, intimidation and harassment.