Schools team up to fight bullying

By Mike McDaniel - email
RIDGELAND, MS (WLBT) - School leaders from across the Magnolia State are taking on the challenge to help turn the page on a growing problem. Among them is Superintendent Rosie Pridgen with the Mississippi School for the Blind.

"Bullying is a big issue and our school is no exception," said Pridgen.

In the two day workshop for bully free certification training, Pridgen is joined by representatives from all 152 school districts in the state. All of them are getting a lesson on bullying.

"We don't know all of the answers but working together we will make sure our school is bully free," said Pridgen.

Helping to lead the fight is Allan Beane who developed bully free systems. As a former teacher, the battle against bullies became his passion after the death of his 23-year-old son who endured years of being the victim.

"This is critical that we do something about this at our schools," said Beane.

While the pamphlets and the books are full of information on how to stop bullying, the challenge is to turn the printed word in to action inside the classroom. To simply have an anti- bullying policy, Beane says is not enough.

"You've got to have a program, you've got to have people trained in your school so their knowledgeable about the problem and why it critical they help stop it," said Beane.

With kids committing suicide Beane says understanding the components of bullying and why it happens starts in the schools.

"Adults at schools only know about ten percent of what's happening in terms of bullying," said Beane.

That's something folks like Pridgen want to see changed in Mississippi classrooms.

"We don't want any child in our school feeling threatened, intimated, harassed in any manner so this will give me some tools to go back and look at and have conversations with students," said Pridgen.

Those representatives are asked to implement strategies in their home districts. Funding for the program and the materials came from a block grant through the department of public safety.