Bullying incidents down at CCMS
The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program was implemented in Churchill County Middle School several years ago and has already lowered the number of incidents.
Olweus is a research-based program that reduces bullying in schools. It also helps to make schools a safer, more positive place where students can learn. The program also emphasized the importance of having parents involved at home.
The program states that in a study of bullying, with more than 15,000 students in grades sixth through 10th, researchers found that 17 percent of students said they had been bullied “sometimes” or more often during the school term. Eight percent had been bullied at lease once a week. Nineteen percent had bullied others “sometimes” or more often during the term. Nine percent had bullied other students at least once a week.
CCMS Principal Scott Meihack said since the program has been in place while he’s been principal, he estimates bullying incidents have been cut up to 95 percent. Although, the 95 percent is not an official number, he said incidents have dropped significantly.
“The programs is great,” Meihack said. “It’s different from all of the other programs because it is scientifically researched and it has been proven to work and it shows results.”
Meihack and Robin Wood, counselor at the high school, are the only two district employees who have received training in the program. The teachers at the middle school have access to the programs material. Meihack said during teacher’s advisory period they go through the materials with their students.
“The teachers and the students really seem to enjoy the activities provided by the program,” Meihack said. “The teachers have the students interact and role play different situations, so the students know how they should properly handle them if they’re ever put in that situation. I also get emails from teachers asking for new material quicker than I can get it out because the class has already completed what was sent out.”
Students at CCMS have been more open to report bullying, he said.
Meihack said the program is well organized and methodical with different dynamics and scenarios written down to show how to handle situations.
“This program is designed so everyone can benefit from it,” he said. “It not only has different scenarios but also has everything written in Spanish too, so students who are bilingual can understand it.”
Parents are even asked to participate in the program when their children get in trouble for bullying another student. Meihack said it is important for parents to be a part of the disciplinary measure. The parents and accused bully is sent home with ‘homework’ that is to be completed by the time the student returns to school.
“There is only so much that we can do, and it only consists at school,” Meihack said. “Once the child goes home, their parents are responsible and have to make sure the student understands the seriousness of the situation. We have shared our bullying material with the police department so they know how to handle the situations as well if they’re notified about community or cyber bullying.”
Meihack said it is important to ensure students know the meaning of bullying, which is an unequal power among people, and know that it is OK to report it.