Austin schools strengthen anti-bullying efforts

Published 8:12 am Sunday, November 2, 2014

By Joe Kroc 

Neveln/Southgate Social Worker

The negative impact of bullying continues to affect students’ self-esteem, attendance and academic achievement. Austin Public Schools are striving to educate students on bullying by teaching ways to prevent bullying and demonstrating appropriate responses for victims and bystanders.

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October is Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights’ (PACER) National Bullying Prevention Month. PACER created the campaign in 2006, with a one-week event which has now evolved into a month-long effort that encourages everyone to take an active role in the bullying prevention movement. Austin Public Schools used October to intensify anti-bullying efforts to continue to educate students, parents and the community on the topic of bullying. Below are some of the events that took place in the Austin Public Schools.

Austin High School brought awareness to students and staff through cyber safety presentations sponsored by Communities Against Bullying (CAB). This presentation was also made available to parents and community members on a separate night.

At Ellis Middle School, staff showed short videos packed full of positive messages regarding anti-bullying and kindness. They also used the month to kick off their Peer Power Partners program. Peer Power Partners not only enhances the prevention of bullying, but also promotes leadership skills, compassion, assertiveness and disability-awareness between mentees and mentors.

At the intermediate level, I.J. Holton Intermediate School took part in Unity Week. The week-long events included Cyber Kindness Day, which encouraged students to send random acts of kindness through social media. Mix It Up Day allowed students to sit with someone new in class, lunch or on the bus. In Project Connect students built an orange chain listing ways to make their building safer. I.J. Holton also started their Peer Power Partners program in October.

In the four elementary schools, Banfield, Neveln, Southgate, Sumner, students took part in several self-esteem and classroom morale activities. The students also viewed short videos that defined what bullying is and the effect it may have on the victim. All students signed an anti-bullying banner during the week.

At Woodson Kindergarten Center, staff sent a letter home to all parents regarding the issue of bullying. The letter discussed how parents can be part of the solution with their child by outlining strategies for everyone involved. Woodson also had an assembly that utilized puppets to role-play ways students can respond to bullying behavior that they may encounter.

All schools designated a day in October to encourage staff and students to wear orange, demonstrating to students that they are not alone in the movement against bullying.

If you would like additional information and resources on the topic of bullying, please visit