This week, Glynn County Schools implemented a campaign to make an effort to stop bullying and suicide amongst school aged children. In recognition of Suicide and Bullying Prevention Months, which are September and October respectively, the Glynn County School System joined other districts across the nation in the “Start With Hello” campaign to end social isolation, bullying and youth violence.
According to Senetra Haywood, Director of Student Services, the “Start With Hello” campaign implemented by the district and school leadership will be educating and mobilizing youth and adults on mental health and wellness programs that identify, intervene and help at-risk individuals.
“Our goal is to teach our students the skills they need to create a culture of inclusion and connectedness within their school, youth organizations and community. But beyond the educational setting, we want this campaign to extend into the community and bring awareness to the growing epidemic of social isolation, bullying, violence and depression,” Haywood said.
In a press release by the school district, Hayward said that in conjunction with other intervention programs school counselors and staff are utilizing evidence-based curriculum on bullying to ensure students understand what it looks like, who they can go to if there is an issue, and help them build more supportive relationships with their peers.
“Bullying is a major issue in today’s society, and unfortunately our schools are not immune. With our new initiatives that we have in place, it is our goal to create a positive school climate where all students can achieve their potential,” said Superintendent Dr. Virgil Cole.
Following Start With Hello, the school district will usher in the month of October with its participation in the National Bullying Prevention Month campaign aimed at educating and raising awareness about bullying prevention. By using creative activities and resources, Haywood said the campaign will offer a myriad of benefits, including information and education about how everyone can help create a bully-free community.
“We want to inspire everyone to unite in kindness, acceptance and inclusion, but also promote open and honest dialogue between educators, parents and students on their roles in addressing and preventing bullying,” Haywood continued.
Schools that take part in Unity Day celebrations on Wednesday, Oct. 24, will encourage students and families to sign pledge forms against bullying and wear orange to send a message of support, hope and unity.
“We will wear and share orange to color our community, and visibly show that we believe that no child should ever experience bullying,” Haywood said.
Start With Hello Week is held during Sept. 24-28 and was organized by Sandy Hook Promise, a national nonprofit organization created by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
National Bullying Prevention Month is a nationwide campaign founded in 2006 by PACERS’s National Bullying Prevention Center. It has become a worldwide effort held during the month of October as a call to action to end bullying.