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Talking To Parents About Difficult Subjects: The Best Tips For Opening Up image

Most teens find it difficult to open up to anyone, let alone parents. When it comes to broaching certain subjects–bullying, drugs, bad decisions–no one wants to take that awkward step. The unavoidable truth, however, is that your parents are the very people you should talk to about those things. While you may think they’ll be unsupportive or jump to conclusions, it might not be as bad as you’re imagining. The only way to find out is to open up a little and lay the groundwork for a respectful, honest talk. One of the best ways to do this is to start opening up communication about small things. It’s tempting to go straight to your room when you get home from ...

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Ohio Lawmakers Introduce New Anti-bullying Legislation image

Much like other states across the country, Ohio’s public schools must enact policies that prohibit student harassment, intimidation and bullying (HIB).  The law defines “harassment, intimidation and bullying” to be any intentional written, verbal, electronic or physical act that one student has taken against another student more than one time.  The action must have resulted in either physical or mental harm.  The bullying must also be sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive.  The law’s aim is to protect children and prevent an environment that is threatening, intimidating or abusive for the victim. State Senator Sandra Williams of Cleveland wants to take Ohio’s anti-bullying laws farther.  She has introduced Senate Bills 196 and 197, which create an “aggravated bullying charge for juveniles.”  She’s sending a ...

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Mississippi Senate House Bill #263 Requires Anti-Bullying Training and Reporting image

Several state laws in Mississippi prohibit bullying or harassing behavior in Mississippi public schools.  SB 2015, passed in the regular session of 2010, addresses bullying by identifying it and requiring schools to define policies against bullying and harassment.  A more recent bill, Senate House Bill #263 aims to further strengthen anti-bullying measures.  The overall goal of the bill is to put in place mandatory training for school staff on bullying and suicide prevention and ensure proper reporting procedures are in place.  Legislatures wish to decrease the rate of suicide in youth and across the state of Mississippi which many professionals attribute to bullying and harassment within public schools.  The CDC put out a report on its research on the link between bullying and suicide. ...

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SB 179 (David’s Law) Passes in Texas Against Cyber-Bullying image

SB 179, drafted by José Menéndez, cleared both House and Senate with bipartisan support in late May 2017.  Menéndez claims it would “empower schools, parents, and law enforcement to tackle cyberbullying.”  The bill, known as David’s Law, honors a high school student from Alamo Heights who was subjected to fierce cyberbullying before he took his own life last year. The bill will take effect Sept. 1 and Texas schools and districts are taking note of the implications it has on their policies and procedures.  At a high level, the bill requires better reporting procedures, notification of parents within a specific timeframe, and district-wide policies.  Although some of the sections might be difficult to interpret, some of the main points include District-wide anti-cyberbullying policies ...

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Will the Student Information System (SIS) monolith benefit schools? image

There’s no doubt that the Student Information System (SIS) sits at the center of a school or district’s technological toolbox.  The SIS tracks everything from grades to attendance to emergency contact information for students and more.  The SIS in many districts serves as the central data warehouse where all information passes through.  Integrations through Single Sign On (SSO) and Application Program Interfaces (APIs) help partnering tools hook into the SIS to update student records and tie various technology tools together.  This helps teachers, administrators, and parents easily access information in a central place.  Everything about the school operations and the students can easily be accessed in one place.  But can this SIS get too big and too powerful?     Who are ...

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Brandi Augenstein shares her tools of the trade and why School Counselors ROCK image

What’s your name and in which school and/or district do you work? Brandi Augenstein, Santa Ana Unified School District How long have you been working in education and what drove you to your profession? Officially or Unofficially? Unofficially I started working in education when I was about 14, yes I understand child labor laws, but it was an experience that started my career in schools. My best friend’s mom was an elementary school principal and we’d go to work with every day during the summer to help around the school, play with the kids during recess, help in classrooms during the day, hang bulletin board paper for teachers, and  tutor and coach after school. We worked for clothing and other ...

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Why you shouldn’t use Google Forms for bully reporting image

G Suite for Education (formerly called Google Apps for Education) provides all of Google’s core offerings to schools.  Products like Google Forms, Google Drive, and Google Sheets typically used for personal and business use are available to schools.  It also includes a whole lot more custom tools built specifically for schools.  Google Forms, for instance, are great for sending out student surveys and even online assessments.  Some schools and districts use Google Forms for their bully and incident reporting forms.  While Google Forms might seem like a good option here we have actually found several significant pitfalls.  We would like for you to consider them as you evaluate your reporting process.  Granted, Google Forms are a step in the right direction ...

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Victoria Woelders talks tech in the classroom and how to shape school culture image

What’s your name and what school and/or district do you work at? Victoria Woelders Dorothy Peacock Elementary School in Langley, British Columbia, Canada Langley School District in British Columbia, Canada Just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada How long have you been working in education and what drove you to your profession?   I have been working in education for over 17 years, and I was driven to this profession when I was 10 years old.  My mother was an elementary school teacher and I remember vividly walking into her classroom and thinking to myself I wanted to be an elementary school teacher.  Helping and encouraging others is my strong suit and I enjoy the process of seeing children being ...

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Be Strong’s Mission to End Bullying Starts with Awareness image

Be Strong of Deerfield Beach, FL works with students and communities across the country in an effort to end bullying.   Their first step is providing help for students and parents who need help after hearing anti-bullying messages inside their schools.  Many schools have anti-bullying assemblies, but what happens after those assemblies is what matters most.  Be Strong’s set of digital tools connect people of all ages with one-touch resources like a bullying lifeline, suicide lifeline, text line, and trusted friends alert, a Smartphone App, and an information portal.  These tools along with increased access to social resources are backed by a growing team of volunteers prepared to spread the message of help and understanding to young people in need.  Be Strong’s support ...

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Rolling Out Your School’s Bullying Reporting Policy: 9 Must-Dos image

The new school year means new students entering your school.  Whether your school or district is large or small, bullying is unfortunately an aspect of every school’s student community.  Luckily many teachers and students are ready to stand up against bullying when it does occur. For the benefit of both new and returning students and parents, it’s critical to roll-out your school’s bullying reporting policy to your students and parents at the start of every school year.  Then, remind them throughout the year of the various bullying reporting options you’ve made available.  In some states, legislation requires school-wide anti-bullying policies that address several key points including 1) a reporting mechanism 2) a follow-up time-frame 3) communication channels to students and parents.  Here’s ...

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