School district kicks off new 'anti-bullying' program

York Co. District 1 schools back to school with brand new anti-bullying program

YORK COUNTY, SC (WBTV) - Children returning to six elementary schools in York County District 1 will be greeted with a few new rules as they enter school Wednesday morning.

Those rules are on a 'Bully Free Zone' sign outside front doors of the schools across the district.

Wednesday not only marks the first day back to school but the first day of a brand new anti-bully campaign in York School District 1 elementary schools.

"The Bullying Prevention Program is really important because we want to be sure our students can come to school being happy and having a good experience," said Sue Hilton, Coordinator of Counseling Services for York School District 1.

"If we can address this at an early age," said Hilton. "We can prevent issues that might occur later in Middle school and High school.

The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP) got it's start over the summer after the school district received a large federal counseling grant last year.

OBPP is centered around four anti-bullying rules and is designed to produce a school-wide climate change for all students and staff.

The 4 anti-bullying rules are:

  1. We will not bully others.
  2. We will try to help students who are being bullied.
  3. We will try to include students who are left out.
  4. If we know that someone is being bullied, we will tell an adult at school and at home.

Hilton said unlike a school-wide assembly to talk about bullying that happens once a year, OBPP will allow students to learn about how they can keep their schools bully free zones all year long.

"The students will see the same message everywhere," said Hilton, who has put posters of the 4 rules across the school and in school buses. "It will become apart of what they are accustomed to and apart of what they are used to seeing."

The federal school counseling grant also funds the hiring of additional mental health counselors at the eight schools in York School District 1.

The grant also opens to door for the establishment of drug and alcohol counseling programs for high school students.

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