By REBECCA ENSLEY
Journey to a Bully‐Free School for CMS
Cherokee Middle School is committed to providing an inviting, supportive, and safe environment where students’ diverse educational and emotional needs are met through a relevant, challenging, integrative, and exploratory curriculum. As we embark on the 2013 New Year, we reflect on our successes of the past year, while also identifying areas that need improvement.
Cherokee Central Schools has maintained a zero tolerance policy in regards to bullying. The staff of CMS considers bullying to be detrimental to the safety and health of our students as well as toxic to the educational environment. The Association for Middle Level Education cites multiple sources of research that define the critical relationship between academic performance and growth, and bullying prevention at the middle school level. Bullying prevention is something we take very seriously at CMS. Our reflection on our current practices in this area reveal some best practices, but also require us to seek out ways to strengthen and improve on our bullying prevention and intervention model.
Along with a very strict, zero‐tolerance policy on bullying and clear, specific consequences for those found to have been bullying other people; CMS has also established practices and levels of support for students and staff in an effort to prevent bullying from occurring in our classrooms and hallways. Our guidance counseling department, along with our health teachers and classroom teachers, work collectively to educate our students on the importance of taking a stand against bullying. Each teacher, along with the Principal, has explained the zerotolerance policy clearly to all students. Our computer/technology department works with the instructional technology department to provide special focus lessons on cyber‐bullying and the dangers associated with it. We continue to develop these practices further in an effort to ensure that every student at CMS is afforded a safe and secure educational environment in which they can attend and learn each and every day.
All of us would like to think that the efforts mentioned previously are enough to eliminate bullying from our campus. Unfortunately, we all know that bullying (in some form) will likely always exist. Therefore, we must not only address bullying when it takes place, but also set forth clear social and behavioral expectations in order to create a suitable atmosphere for learning. Another key strategy for waging the war on bullying in our schools is none other than you, the parents. Research has proven that bullying prevention efforts are most effective when there is a joint effort of school personnel, staff, and community members working together to stop bullying. Parental pride and involvement in the school sets a positive example for children.
As adults, we can teach self‐respect, discuss the seriousness and negative effects of bullying behaviors, and set a good example. We invite further input from both parents and the community on ways to improve, strengthen, or develop our anti‐bullying practices. The war waged against bullying in our schools is not easily won. It will take each of us as stakeholders in the education of children to stand up against bullying, empower those who find themselves to be victims, and continually reflect on ways we can eliminate bullying from the halls and classrooms of our schools. The staff of Cherokee Middle School looks forward to working with parents and other community members as we strive to eliminate bullying from our school. We invite you to call or email your comments, questions, and ideas regarding the strengthening of our current anti‐bullying practices. You may call Cherokee Middle School at 828‐554‐5026 and ask to speak with Mrs. Rebecca Ensley, CMS Principal or Ms. Lucky Hodges, CMS Guidance Counselor. You may also send word to your child’s teacher. Our reflections have shown us the beauty of our school, as well as those imperfections we need to address.
Cherokee Middle School resolves to be a bully‐free school zone. Our plan of response is in motion, and we hope you will be a part of the journey to a bully‐free school at Cherokee Middle School.