Poudre School District pulls out stops for Safe Schools Week

For starters, check out Fossil Ridge High School’s Rachel’s Challenge program in this Ch. 10 video. Poudre School District joined many other districts across the state in recognizing Colorado Safe Schools Week, which wraps up Saturday.  While the special week may highlight the importance of safe school issues, PSD administrators and staff offer activities all year to maintain safe, learning environments for students.

Some activities at schools that help maintain a safe learning environment include:

  • Beattie Elementary implements the Beattie R.A.M.S (Respect Always Means Success) program that teaches students respectful behavior.
  • Bethke, Dunn, Johnson, Laurel, Linton, McGraw, O’Dea, Olander, Putnam, and Timnath Elementary Schools give K-5 students bully prevention training and lessons.
  • Irish, Johnson, Linton, Olander, and Timnath Elementary schools have weekly class meetings or peace circles in every classroom, which allow students to resolve conflicts and provide a safe place for students to learn conflict resolution skills.
  • Lopez, O’Dea, and Olander Elementary Schools educate parents and staff about student safety.
  • Several elementary schools provide the “Talking about Touching” curriculum for K-3 students. Students learn to report interactions with adults or peers that feel unsafe.
  • Lincoln Middle School and Poudre High School have each received a Colorado Legacy Foundation bullying prevention grant to support training students and staff.
  • Fossil Ridge High School hopes to be the first high school in the country to create a four-year plan to implement the message of compassion and kindness through Rachel’s Challenge.
  • Blevins and Wellington Middle Schools have also participated in Rachel’s Challenge in the past.
  • Fort Collins High School staff will receive the QPR, Question, Persuade, Refer, Suicide Prevention Training today (Friday, Oct. 21), a collaboration day.

Speaker addresses bullying

Barbara ColorosoBullying expert Barbara Coloroso doesn’t see anti-bullying programs as the answer.

Most programs are aimed at helping bullies understand how much they’re hurting their victims — except the bullies already know and don’t care, she said. Instead, raising children to speak out against bullies instead of acting as bystanders will go a long way to defeating what’s become the norm in schools worldwide, she said.

“The most important thing is how do we raise kids who will stand up against injustices,” she said. Read more in the Daily Camera.

Poudre School District notes increase in drug use

Drug-related expulsions in Poudre School District are up 300 percent from 2008 rates, Superintendent Jerry Wilson said.

Proponents of Fort Collins Question 300, a ballot measure seeking to ban medical marijuana dispensaries in Fort Collins, have used the “300 percent” statistic to support claims that dispensaries have a negative effect on Fort Collins youths and increased drug use among teenagers. Read more in the Coloradoan.

Schools’ reaction to suicides may do more harm than good

For schools reeling in the aftermath of a student’s suicide, some mental health experts say that paying tribute to the teen with candlelight vigils, hallway locker memorials and all-school assemblies may do more harm than good. Read more in the Chicago Tribune.

School discipline changes move forward in Colorado

Post-Columbine school disciplinary policies that Colorado lawmakers say lead to mandatory expulsions for things like inadvertently having a butter knife in a backpack are facing an overhaul, under a proposal given preliminary approval Tuesday.

A legislative committee moved forward with a proposal that seeks to give education officials more discretion over expulsions and police referrals, which lawmakers say became more common after the 1999 Columbine High School shootings in Littleton, where two students killed 13 people and then themselves. Check out this ABC News report.

Shakespeare gives the latest strategy in anti-bullying in schools

William ShakespeareShakespeare is the latest strategy in combating bullying in America’s schools, but the idea was not an immediate hit.

“When we first told people, they said, ‘What? That’s weird. How do those two things go together?’ ” said Jane Grady, assistant director for the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence at the University of Colorado.

But after a month of performances of “Twelfth Night” in 25 schools across Colorado, which were followed by workshops in which kids talked about the character Malvolio and other bullies in the play, the results surprised the experts. Read more in the Denver Post.

What works to end bullying?

We grown-ups really want to find some good news on bullying, but it’s pretty hard to come by.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 teamed up with Robert Faris, a sociologist from the University of California, Davis, for some detailed research on who bullied whom and how during last year’s spring quarter at the Wheatley School on Long Island. What they found replicated an earlier, much-written-about study Mr. Faris conducted at less affluent schools in rural North Carolina: bullying isn’t about the kids on the fringes. It’s the kids in the middle of a school’s social life who are “caught up in patterns of cruelty and aggression that have to do with jockeying for status” (a phrase that makes homeschooling sound suddenly more appealing). Read more about it in this New York Times blog.

Denver elementary school student brings loaded gun to class

DENVER – A nine-year-old boy faces suspension or expulsion after bringing a loaded handgun to class at Columbian Elementary School on Friday, Denver Public School officials said.

The gun was found this morning after another student reported it to school authorities. Check out this KWGN report.