In part 2, Pablo Flinn talks about a new nation-wide program to combat bullying in the school place. This two-part series is in response to the dust up surrounding the fallout from "The List" which comes out every spring, ridiculing upper class females. Ladue has had anti-bullying education programs for years. They are now working towards a goal of getting "The List" under control going forward.
Patch.com: What are present goals for student character development:
Pablo Flinn: Our goal is to develop that whole citizen.
What we are particularly excited about is the OLWEUS anti-bullying program. That program is present in about 14 states. It is important to honor and it is important to identify data that we use to support budget decisions we make as well as the social-emotional state of our students.
We take data points several times a year to see how each of the buildings are feeling. We don’t rely on just one snapshot a year.
With the initial OLWEUS program, a group of educators are trained then they train the rest of the staff. The staff begins with the first person who walks in the door to turn on the lights to the last person who turns them off at night. We have bus drivers trained to listen to our students. Your staff needs to be a listening ear when a student has something to share. Our cafeteria workers are trained as well as our maintenance staff who know kids and know what’s going on.
We have character education programs K12 that are very important to our students.
Patch: When a teacher thinks he/she sees bullying going on in their classroom or on the playground, what are their first steps to take.
Flinn: The first thing is perception. If I think something isn’t exactly right, then I go to a counselor or an administrator. They never have to solve a problem on their own. A big piece of what we’ve done recently, is ‘if it feels odd, then let me act.’
Teachers have to differentiate an argument on the playground or at lunch from something that is consistently going on or is it actually bullying going on?
Patch: Do you encourage students to have peace sessions when arguments are happening.
Flinn: Absolutely. The intent is always how do we solve this issue with the facts in hand. We don’t run around and pull people out of classrooms just to solve issues. Through mediation, those things are absolutely important. We always have to work from a set of established facts.
We want our junior citizens to be able to solve real live issues.
Just this week a reporter told us this (anti-bullying program( are great. She said she wished she had this kind of system within her work place. We want students to be outstanding citizens when they go out into the greater community.
Patch: At what point do parents get called in.
Flinn: We have district policies that relate to bullying and hazing and discipline issues are handled as thus. That is when we touch base with parents in an appropriate manner.
Patch: What is your observation of the “Senior List” and the harassment that happens at the end of school at the senior high.
Flinn: By then they are adults and sometimes they make poor choices. There are 1,200 students at the high school and the vast majority make exceedingly good choices. And there are students who do not a times. And the fact is we have to create systems that support situations as they occur. No one can control the actions of a few all the time. Our duty is to give them a good education so they know what consequences there may be with the choices they make. That speaks to the guidance system we have, K-12.
Patch: Dealing with teen agers is a challenge.
Flinn: Absolutely. That’s the nature of human development. We have a phenomenal student body and we have phenomenal families. To that end, our role is addressing their emotional social development. Our goal is developing good citizens overall. When students transfer into this district, we want them to feel very welcome and to feel part of this community.
These are stories relating previously to this situation.