Spring SLT update

Dear EVCS families,

Spring is here, and with it so many new initiatives at EVCS. I’ll be sending out updates over the next couple of weeks to inform folks of all the exciting things we have planned, but I’d like to start by describing an initiative the SLT has taken on this year to formalize and codify our school’s response to bullying.

After exploring various anti-bullying resources, the SLT decided to move forward with the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program. This program will be fully implemented in September of 2016 with teacher training and classroom curriculum. However, this spring we will begin the process by asking students in grades 3-5 to complete an anonymous survey about bullying at EVCS. Prior to administering the survey, the students will be introduced to the definition of bullying as defined by this program:

_Bullying is when someone repeatedly and on purpose says or does mean or hurtful things to another person who has a hard time defending himself or herself. Bullying can take many forms such as hitting, verbal harassment, spreading false rumors, not letting someone be part of a group, or sending mean messages on a cell phone or over the internet. Bullying is a word used to describe a behavior and should never be used to define a child. _

In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:
An imbalance of power: Kids who bully use their power- such as physical strength, privilege, access to embarrassing information, or popularity- to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people. _
Repetition: Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once._

In order for this program to be successful, it is important that parents, teachers, and students understand and agree that this is to be the only acceptable definition of bullying at EVCS, and that not all altercations between children fall within this definition.

If you feel that your child is being bullied, please bring it to the attention of both his or her teacher(s) and the school administration.

EVCS is a school that has always valued kindness and integrity above all else. Our mission statement reads, “It is our priority to provide an environment where all children and all families are valued, welcomed, cared for and supported.” Creating clear language, definitions and policy around bullying only strengthens our ability to make good on that promise. Thanks so much for your support.

As ever,