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BCPS pledges to be bully free

posted Aug 26, 2016, 9:10 AM by Cheryl Shuffler

Burke County Public Schools is taking a stand against bullying and asking everyone associated with the school system to sign a pledge acknowledging bullying will not be tolerated in our schools. It seems the word “bullying” is thrown around a lot these days, so what exactly is it? When an individual or group seeks to dominate, control and terrorize the life of another person on purpose and more than once that is bullying. Bullying can manifest itself in many actions, including pushing, shoving, hitting, spitting, name calling, picking on, making fun of, laughing at and excluding someone. And when it moves to the online realm, it is known as cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is when a person is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or targeted by another person using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones.

Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Larry Putnam said, “Bullying and cyberbullying cause pain and stress to victims and is never justified or excusable as ‘kids being kids,’ ‘just teasing,’ or any other rationalization. The victim is never responsible for being a target of bullying or cyberbullying. Bullying behavior is not welcome in our schools. Instead, we want schools full of buddies and not bullies.”

Everyone at Burke County Public Schools will work to provide a school environment that is safe, calm, orderly, procedural and one in which people care for one another. Students, parents, teachers and other staff members will be presented with an anti-bullying pledge. By signing this pledge, they promise to not be a bully to others, and to help stop any bullying that they see. They promise to be a buddy and not a bully.

                  Putnam said, “Signing the pledge signifies a commitment to take a stand against bullying and cyberbullying. It says we will treat others with respect, kindness and compassion. It means we will have the courage to not stand by and watch someone be bullied, but will instead take on the responsibility to help those who are being bullied. One way we can do that is by reporting bullying to the appropriate people. The pledge also signifies our willingness to be a good role model for others and support them if bullying occurs.”

                  The pledges will go home with all students on the first day of school, Monday, Aug. 29. Parents and students will read and review the information at home, sign the pledge and return it to school. Administrators have been discussing the process this week during opening faculty meetings. BCPS counselors will continue to conduct lessons throughout the school year on being a buddy, not a bully and look for your school to post anti-bullying information on its website throughout the year.