CCE of Suffolk’s Family, Health and Wellness program is the recipient of a $20,000 grant from the Long Island Community Foundation.
With the funding, CCE will develop and promote a new program entitled Dignity at School, Dignity at Home: Empowering Parents to Prevent Bullying. CCE will collaborate with four public schools to develop sustainable site-based plans for parent education that support the recommendations of the New York State Dignity for All Students Act which requires all public and charter schools to implement policies that create a school environment free from discrimination and harassment.
Initially as part of the grant, CCE will work with Southold, Southampton, Quogue and Hampton Bays School Districts. Bullying off and online continues to harm children physically and psychologically and contributes to social withdrawal, school absenteeism, school failure and, in extreme cases, retaliatory violence or suicide.
Recent statistics show that one in seven students from kindergarten through 12th grade is either a bully or has been a victim of bullying (American Medical Association). According to the National Center for Education Statistics for 2008–09, 28% of students ages 12 through 18 reported they were bullied at school, and about 6% reported they were cyber-bullied on and off school property. Moreover, an estimated 15% of all school absenteeism is directly related to fears of being bullied at school. New York State ranks in the top five of all states for frequency of school bullying.
This pilot program, developed by CCE human development educator Tim Jahn, will empower parents as primary models for tolerance and non-violence and provides them with the tools and skills to:
1. Identify behaviors and temperamental traits in their children that can predict either bullying aggression or victimization;
2. Correct their children’s behavior using non-violent, non-coercive methods;
3. Communicate effectively with their children about any topic;
4. Help their children develop protective pro-social and friendship skills and social-emotional resilience;
5. Help their children acquire street smarts and online safety skills for handling bullying, relational aggression and cyber-bullying;
6. Advocate for school and community changes needed to protect children.