Bullying Prevention Workshops
Bullying occurs with alarming frequency in all schools, sometimes with tragic consequences. Studies have shown a significant number of our children are bullied on a daily basis, interrupting attendance and academics. Bullying has long-term negative effects, not only on victims, but on bullies as well. Several studies have found that bullies identified by age eight are much more likely to have serious criminal records by age thirty. Students report that the majority of teachers and other educators are often unaware of and sometimes even ignore bullying incidents.
Every school has its own culture. To effectively address the issue of bullying, a school must examine their culture and determine if it creates a climate for bullying to occur, and possibly even flourish. The Pennsylvania Masonic Youth Foundation is pleased to sponsor training workshops for PA Educators seeking to deal more effectively with these issues. During the workshops, educators will be given tools to evaluate their school culture, and methods to confront their social norms that may encourage aggression and bullying.
These workshops, conducted by Deborah McCoy of Educational Development Services, LLC, provide educators with an overview of bullying in schools, and the research behind it. Intervention for students who bully is reviewed, along with realistic solutions for students who are their targets. Practical strategies are given for implementing a bullying prevention and intervention program that can help create a safe learning environment for every student. A variety of very affordable and readily accessible resources are highlighted in the workshops.
Student Assistance Program
The PA Masonic Youth Foundation continues a long-standing partnership between the Masons of Pennsylvania and the PA Department of Education’s Student Assistance Program (SAP). SAP is designed to assist school personnel in identifying alcohol, drug, and other issues that pose a barrier to a student’s learning and school success.
Student assistance is not a treatment program. It is a systematic process using effective and accountable professional techniques to mobilize school resources to remove the barriers to learning. Where the problem is beyond the scope of the school, the Student Assistance Team will assist the parent and the student with information so they may access services within the community.
The heart of the program is a professionally trained team, including school staff and liaisons from community agencies, who process issues based upon state guidelines, professional standards, and policies and procedures adopted by the local school board of directors. Professional training for team members in all phases of the student assistance program is required. The rigorous training of all team members, which results in a certificate from the approved training provider, ensures the board of school directors, school administrators, parents, students and the public that team members have received up-to-date professional training consistent with accountable standard and appropriate professional practices.
Pennsylvania Masons have been involved almost since the beginning of Student Assistance. Four school SAP teams participated in the very first SAP team training in December 1984, and in the 1985-86 school year, the Fraternity’s involvement with SAP began. For a significant period of time, SAP team trainings were conducted exclusively at the Masonic Conference Center – Patton Campus in Elizabethtown. Currently, all secondary school buildings are required to provide Student Assistance Programs, and the team trainings are conducted by Commonwealth Approved Training Providers throughout the state. While SAP teams are no longer trained exclusively at Patton Campus, the Pennsylvania Masonic Youth Foundation helps fund the Commonwealth Approved Training system, and various other SAP-related programs for educators throughout the Commonwealth. Our partnership with the PA Department of Education’s Student Assistance Program remains strong and is the cornerstone of our prevention efforts.