Warren Area Elementary Center is saying no to bullies and yes to respect and responsibility.
WAEC will be kicking off its school-wide bullying prevention program on Friday with a performance entitled, "No Place for Bullies in our School!" by The Hill Brothers.
The performers' central message is to empower students to recognize and take a stand against bullying in all forms.
Although the kick-off is Friday, the initial aspects of the program have been taking shape for months with staff training and preparing for activities which will start in February.
The program, said Rhonda Decker, assistant principal at WAEC, was originally developed through the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program. The Warren County School District received a grant through the PA CARES program and WAEC was one of the recipients."
Debra Jannotti, counselor at WAEC, said "WAEC Olweus Committee members attended an Intermediate Regional Conference and found that Olweus has been working in other school districts in the region for several years."
"They have kept it alive throughout their districts and I believe we can do the same thing," she said.
According to the Olweus plan, the program is comprised of school, classroom, parent and community involvement, all helping to reduce existing bullying among students, prevent the development of new problems and to achieve better peer relations at school.
The program is not a supplemental curriculum, a conflict resolution approach, anger management or a source of peer meditation.
Instead, the goal of Olweus is to implement preventive and responsive systematic efforts over time, said Decker.
How WAEC will use those aspects are through changing the focus from bullying to respect for self, respect for others and taking personal responsibility for all actions. A weekly positive message will be delivered via video/TV to all WAEC students and staff beginning in February.
"We have been training our staff and will continue to provide ongoing professional development to understand all aspects of bullying and to be proactive," said Decker. "It's really about giving everyone a common language and strategies to help students."
Jannotti said after Friday's kick-off assembly, WAEC will be gearing up for the school-wide program that will encompass classroom meetings, prevention programming, and parent and community involvement.