DERRY — To facilitate and enhance the existing school program, the Alexander Eastman Foundation recently granted $11,600 to the Derry Bully Prevention Project, a group formed a year ago by its coordinator and director, Brenda Caldwell. Other group members are co-coordinators Sandy Bilodeau and Janet Morneau, and project contributor, Dr. Stephen Caldwell.
In 2010, then Gov. John Lynch signed into law the Pupil Safety and Violence Prevention Law. In response, the Derry Cooperative School District established a comprehensive program to address the bullying issue within the schools.
“According to the successful anti-bullying programs across the country, it literally ‘takes a village’ to make the most effective impact for change,” Caldwell said. After a local program was extensively researched and developed by the project’s members, the results were well received by the Derry Schools."
The Derry Bully Prevention Project will, as in the past, continue to collaborate with the Derry Cooperative School District assistant superintendent Dr. Mary Ann Connors-Krikorian and other staff members.
It will also partner with both its fiscal agent,The Upper Room – A Family Resource Center and with the Community Alliance for Teen Safety.
Over the next 12 months, the project will focus on increasing awareness of bullying behavior and teaching social skills and conflict management to the entire school community.
In addition to teachers and students in the elementary and middle schools, this outreach includes parents, school bus drivers, cafeteria workers, custodians, remaining school personnel, after-school day care providers, and Derry’s youth organizations.
Activities will include increased classroom presentations by the school psychologists; the distribution of anti-bullying information at school and town functions; a parent presentation by Dr. Malcolm Smith, a family counselor and a renowned speaker on bullying; the “Courage to Care” teacher training workshop; and student theatrical performances by TIGER, a Plymouth State University production which addresses the importance of compassion and tolerance.
“We are very grateful to the Alexander Eastman Foundation for recognizing the importance of this effort and for funding the project, and we are happy to have the encouragement and support of The Upper Room and the community,” Caldwell said.
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