Stu­dents, trained as Safe School am­bas­sadors, target bul­ly­ing

The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT) - - FRONT PAGE - By Press Staff

MID­DLE­TOWN — Some 40 Mid­dle­town High School stu­dents and 11 mem­bers of the school’s fac­ulty and staff, com­pleted the Safe School Am­bas­sador train­ing pro­gram held at the MHS li­brary/me­dia cen­ter on Sept. 21 and 22.

The train­ing was led by Eric Ruben, from Com­mu­nity Mat­ters, an anti-bul­ly­ing or­ga­ni­za­tion based in Cal­i­for­nia. The or­ga­ni­za­tion de­scribes it­self as a re­search­based coali­tion fo­cused on im­prov­ing school cli­mate and re­duc­ing bul­ly­ing at all levels of ed­u­ca­tion.

Ad­viser Mary-Ellen Mol­ski, an English teacher at MHS, said the 40 new stu­dents joined the 35 who were al­ready in the or­ga­ni­za­tion and who re­ceived train­ing last May.

“The 75 stu­dents, who make up a group called Dragon Watch, are now rec­og­nized as Safe School Am­bas­sadors and have been trained to rec­og­nize stu­dents in trou­ble and to in­ter­vene ap­pro­pri­ately,” Mol­ski said.

In ad­di­tion to the stu­dents, fac­ulty who re­ceived train­ing in­cluded Ken­dra Dick­in­son, Natasha Faulken­berry, Michael Kings­bury, Daniel Lowry and Rob Smer­noff, guid­ance coun­selors Beth­saida Franco and Kim Lane, para­pro­fes­sion­als Thomas Rus­sell and An­dre Bishop, cam­pus safety of­fi­cial Joshua Cofield and Dean of Stu­dents Omaris Jour­net.

The group also at­tended a Unity Rally run by Em­power Ath­letes on Oct. 5, and on Oct. 19, MHS will host mo­ti­va­tional speaker Aaron Polan­sky from Bos­ton who has ex­per­tise in the ar­eas of restora­tive jus­tice and stu­dent in­clu­siv­ity/in­ter­de­pen­dence.

“I saw Mr. Polan­sky speak two years ago at a Bos­ton con­fer­ence and his ideas were very ex­cit­ing,” Mol­ski said. “He will be dis­cussing re­spon­si­bil­ity, be­hav­ior, stu­dent ac­tivism rel­a­tive to bul­ly­ing and stand­ing against it, and mat­ters of so­cial jus­tice.”

In ad­di­tion to the 75 stu­dents in Dragon Watch, there are now 20 MHS fac­ulty and staff who have re­ceived train­ing.

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