Photo by Kevin Wong, Flickr Creative Commons

Lois Puglionesi writes in the DailyTimes, serving Delaware County, Pennsylvania, that Haverford School District is looking to address bullying utilizing restorative practices.

The article discusses bullying, its pervasiveness and possible reasons for its seeming rise:

In a presentation to the school board, Special Education Director Valerie Burnett said a recent Pennsylvania Youth Survey showed that bullying remains a key area of concern for schools across the state. Non-physical forms of bullying appear most prevalent, with one-third to more than half of students reporting that others had deliberately excluded, teased, or spread false rumors about them.

About 18 percent reported that other students physically harmed, threatened or damaged their property.

While bullying isn’t new, “it’s possible that the impact of bullying behavior is more severe because of our collective loss of social capital,” Burnett said. “Children today are growing up in a world where community supports, communicative patterns and social connections...are often whittled down to a text or Tweet.”

Later in the piece Puglionesi recounts an anecdote of how restorative practices has been applied in one elementary school:

Fourth grade teacher Megan Romano provided an example of how she used restorative practices techniques to resolve a playground conflict between two fourth grade boys in which physical harm occurred.

Rather than send them to the principal’s office, Romano arranged a group discussion where the children sat down together and talked about how they had hurt each other, how the incident affected them, and what they could do to resolve it.

The children decided they “needed a set of rules, and talked about what the rules would be,” said Romano. They also agreed to make a poster listing the rules, for everyone to sign and abide by.

The article also discusses how grant money is being used to help spread restorative practices in the district:

Using a $5,000 grant from Chester County Regional Educational Services, a group of teachers, counselors, psychologists and administrators completed a certification program on restorative practices over the summer, Burnett said.

They will help train other district employees beginning the first Act 80 day in October, which is National Bullying Prevention month.

IIRP has trained the group through it "Training of Trainers" program, which makes it possible for the district to sustain implementation in-house without additional expense.

The full story is here: Haverford School District looks at new plan to cope with bullying - delcotimes.com.

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