Anti-Bullying

Anna Mahler, HMS Anti-Bullying Specialist  (amahler@htps.us)

As the Anti-Bullying Specialist at HMS, it is my responsibility to investigate reported incidents of HIB and oversee bullying prevention efforts, working closely with the administration, staff, students, and parents/guardians.  Positive school climate is a priority at HMS; we have a comprehensive and proactive approach to maintaining an atmosphere of respect and kindness, where bullying behavior is simply not acceptable or tolerated.  


“HMS = Heroic Mind Set" Our theme this year is “HMS = Heroic Mind Set" where everyone can be a hero within our school community - this includes students, teachers, secretaries, nurses, custodians, librarian, cafeteria staff, computer resource staff, bus drivers, administrators, instructional assistants, counselors, Child Study Team members, Effective School Solutions clinician, student teachers, coaches, volunteers, and of course parents, guardians, and all family members!


As they proceed through 7th and 8th grades, students will discover how they can impact the lives of others in a positive way. Our goal is to encourage empathy, open-mindedness and dialogue – all important factors that contribute to positive school climate.  We provide multiple opportunities throughout the year to reinforce this message, with ongoing activities as well as special programs:


Digital Citizenship:  We continue to remind students to be caring citizens at all times, especially when using technology. A 7th grade assembly program by Richard Guerry of the iRoc Institute emphasizes that digital “footprints” are forever. HMS staff and peer leaders conduct lessons on “Digital Citizenship” each marking period.


PRIDE (Peers Respecting Individual Differences Everyday): This peer leadership group facilitates a presentation to all 7th graders called “Empathy to Action" that promotes “upstander" behavior.

Positive Behavior Intervention Program: An educational program for students who violate the HIB policy or other Code of Conduct expectations.  Students meet with a counselor during study periods to address their behavior, with a special emphasis on empathy development and restorative actions.

Support groups: Facilitated by school counselors and other mental health trained personnel, groups focus on assertiveness skills, coping skills and building self-esteem.


Community Service Activities: sponsored throughout the year by a number of school organizations (see website under “Clubs/Service Organizations for details)

HIB Prevention begins at home! As parents/guardians, you are vital to the effectiveness of HIB prevention.  Today’s students are “digital natives” – they have grown up immersed in technology. Parents/guardians are often “digital immigrants,” struggling to keep up with the ever changing world of technology, particularly social media. There are many good resources available to assist parents/guardians with navigating the digital world, including www.commonsensemedia.org.

As cyber-bullying in particular most often occurs off school grounds via computer or cell phone, your assistance and cooperation is essential. Our experience has repeatedly shown when students are unsupervised, the incidence of all bullying, and especially cyber bullying, increases.  We strongly advise:

  • Students NOT keep their computer in their bedroom, and for parents/guardians to be vigilant in monitoring internet activity.

  • Students NOT be permitted to have cell phones in their bedrooms overnight. Especially with regard to cell phones, remember it is YOUR device and phone plan, and children do not automatically have privacy rights with regard to their use of the devices.

  • You should know the password to your child’s Genesis account as that is the ONLY way that you can have access to all their information.

Collaborating with us by taking these actions at home will help to ensure the safety and well-being of all students.

Questions? Contact me at 908-431-6600 ext. 2296 or email at amahler@htps.us.

Anna Mahler, LCSW, Student Assistance Counselor/Anti-Bullying Specialist



 

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