Great Bend Unified School District 428 is joining schools across the state in observing Kansas Anti-Bullying Awareness Week from Oct. 7-13. This year’s theme is “Choose Peace.”
The Kansas State Board of Education and the Kansas State Senate by joint resolution have designated the first full week in October as Anti-Bullying Awareness Week. This is a great opportunity to create awareness about the issue of bullying, said Andrea Bauer, public information director at USD 428.
Twenty percent of students ages 12 to 18 have experienced bullying, according to stopbullying.gov, a United States government website. Thirty percent of young people admit to bullying others, and 70.6% of children have witnessed bullying in their schools.
In March, Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson announced the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Bullying to research and identify current bullying trends, data and prevention measures occurring across the state in an effort to understand better how to combat this complex issue.
The group also is reviewing work in the areas of social-emotional learning; reviewing current statutes, regulations and policies to determine need for change; and identifying possible avenues that could reduce and prevent incidents of bullying and cyber bullying.
The Task Force on Bullying is hosting listening tours across the state. Members of the public are welcome to attend and take part in a public comment session. Information gathered during the listening tours will be compiled and used to develop recommendations to present to the State Board of Education later this year.
Kansas teens are being asked to share their thoughts on bullying, too, by visiting https://mewe.com/join/kansasblueribbontaskforceonbullying. Students are encouraged to visit the site and answer this question: What can we do to prevent bullying in Kansas schools?
There are a variety of events, lessons and displays of encouragement and support taking place in schools across Great Bend this week to encourage students, staff members and community members to take a stand against bullying. On Monday, Oct. 7, Great Bend High School kicked off the week with students being asked to wear blue in support of anti-bullying efforts. Other highlights at GBHS include daily announcements from school counselors, “Positive Post-It Notes” spread across the school, sidewalk chalk messages, and a “Random Acts of Kindness Day” planned for Thursday, Nov. 10.
For more information about Kansas Anti-Bullying Week or for resources to help stop bullying, visit https://www.ksde.org/Agency/Division-of-Learning-Services/Career-Standards-and-Assessment-Services/Content-Area-M-Z/School-Counseling/School-Counseling-Resources/Anti-Bullying-Awareness.
For local information, contact the District Education Center by calling 620-793-1500.