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Niagara Region PTA launches 'Stop Bullying Now!' initiative

by jmaloni
Wed, Oct 26th 2011 09:00 am

In light of another teen suicide as a result of bullying, the Niagara Region PTA wants to share the details of its "Stop Bullying Now!" initiative and implore adults and children alike to learn how emotionally damaging bullying behaviors can be.

A diverse task force of dedicated volunteers (including school administrators, Niagara Region PTA board members, PTA parents and students) has been working on this initiative since January of 2010. Each of the 31 individual PTA units and two councils within the Niagara Region has received (or will receive shortly) a "Stop Bullying Now!" toolkit to assist in finding unique ways to get the message out to students, parents and school districts that bullying cannot be tolerated.

This initiative was implemented to help PTAs partner with schools in order to prepare for the upcoming "Dignity For All Students Act" and help spread the word in the communities that "Bullying Is Not OK!". The purpose of this legislation is to provide all students an educational environment in which they can safely learn.

The task force developed a set of goals to guide its work on this initiative. These goals have been established as follows:

Goal No. 1: To educate parents, students, school personnel and community members regarding bullying, in order to bring about an atmosphere of zero tolerance for bullying behavior in homes, schools, playgrounds, buses, online or any place children congregate.

Goal No. 2: Niagara Region PTA will encourage partnerships with agencies, organizations, businesses and school districts to inform the community about the risks and costs of bullying in order to bring about a change in societal attitudes toward bullying.

Goal No. 3: To make tools available to parents, students, school personnel and community members to enlighten and empower them with skills to initiate change that results in positive attitudes, beliefs and behaviors regarding bullying.

Each toolkit contains the following: brochures detailing the goals of the task force (as described above); a yard sign for each school to display the "Stop Bullying Now!" message; magnets; a sample poster; suggestions on how to use the toolkit; a CD containing information and links to available online resources to assist in bullying prevention; parent and child information handouts; and artwork with slogan and logos for posters, magnets, etc., to display at school and/or hand out to community supporters.

This initiative incorporates the mantra of "Take A Stand, Lend A Hand," which addresses the actions of bystanders. Getting bystanders to step in and stand up for the person being bullied is a major focus of any effective anti-bullying program and this needs to be spread throughout schools and communities, according to the taskforce.

"If we all work to 'Stop Bullying Now!' we can change the lives of so many who live in pain and fear," states Niagara Region Director MaryBeth Carroll.

For more information, visit www.niagararegionpta.org. The site contains resources on how to help combat bullying in today's society.

The Niagara Region PTA represents 31 PTA units and two PTA councils throughout Niagara, Orleans and Erie counties. It represents more than 5,100 members. Each local unit and council is linked through the Niagara Region PTA to the New York State PTA with more than 325,000 members and further to the National PTA with more than 4 million members in all 50 states. PTA is the largest all-volunteer organization in the nation. More information can be found at www.niagararegionpta.org, www.nyspta.org and www.pta.org.

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