Stark Bullying Prevention Program Shows Positive Impacts on Students
"In a world where you can be anything, be kind."
Since 2011 when the Stark County Educational Service Center and the Stark County parochial schools were awarded funds by the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton, Stark County public and parochial schools have been successfully implementing the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program. The most recent data reveal significant reduction in bullying incidents, a positive shift in students who intervene when a student is being bullied, and schools establishing proactive approaches to teaching skills needed to develop positive relationships and respectful citizens.
The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP) is the most extensively researched bullying prevention program available today. The PK-12 program involves students, staff, parents and the community in consistent approaches that prevent bullying throughout the school buildings. OBPP's comprehensive approach, focused on long-term changes, creates a safe and positive school climate. As of Spring 2019, 52 Stark County schools serving nearly 32,000 students have adopted this bullying prevention program.
OBPP students are engaged in activities that develop effective communication, critical thinking, problem solving, ethical decision-making, social responsibility and productive teamwork. These life skills are woven into the fabric of the school day and essential to earning the Ohio Means Jobs Career Readiness Seal.
Since the initial award of the grant, a faithful county-wide team of leaders has met regularly to plan and implement training, collect and monitor data, provide coaching to school leaders and their teams, and document progress for each of the buildings.
To ensure that the Olweus Bullying Prevention work is sustained and connected to the other important prevention and intervention initiatives in the county, the Stark County ESC has hired a full time Director of Prevention, Patti Fetzer. She will provide leadership, coordination, and overall direction for this program and other proactive prevention programs in collaboration with 120 school based CARE Teams.