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Mossy Creek Elementary School starts new bullying prevention program

Bullying in schools

The first few days of classes at Mossy Creek Elementary include a lesson centered around bullying. (WRDW-TV / Aug. 16, 2011)

News 12 This Morning / Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2011

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- Mossy Creek Elementary is the first school in the district to survey its student body and pinpoint where and how bullying is taking place.

The first few days of classes at Mossy Creek include a lesson centered around bullying.

It's a new approach guidance counselor Shari Hooper is hoping will help students be more proactive.

"We need to use our student body, we need to use to the students standing by watching things happen and teach them to be mobilize and speak up," Hooper said.

This year administrators learned from survey results that 40 percent of the students say they were called names, 33 percent felt left out from a group setting on purpose and 60 percent of the students at Mossy Creek were uncertain of the exact definition of bullying.

Melanie Snider, a fifth grader at Mossy Creek defined bullying as "If a student is purposely being treated badly."

It is a definition she knows well. She's even decided to take part in Mossy Creek's student protection committee and talk to students about what to do when they see bullying.

"When I was asked to do this I couldn't say no," Snider said. "I mean I know a lot of people and I've seen people getting bullied on the playground, even in the bathroom."

According to survey results, 50 percent of the students wished others would speak up more.

Instead of having students pass on the responsibility, teachers are helping make students feel more comfortable and speak up as a group if they see bullying take place.

"The playground is the biggest area of concern for our kids," Hooper said. "It's the most unstructured time of the whole day."

That's why she enlisted the help of parent volunteers to act as an extra set of eyes and ears.

Gwyn Snider, Melanie's mother, has decided to participate.

"The teachers have 28 kids to watch everyday," she said. "It's impossible to watch 28 people at one time."

If you are a parent that wants to be a part of the protection committee, you can call Mossy Creek's main office to find more information. There is training that is required.

Counselors and administrators are hoping to make this a yearly practice so that they can gather hard data to find out exactly when and where bullying is taking place to prevent it in the first place.


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