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Local School District Initiative Attempts to End Bullying

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LAKE ORION (WWJ) – Lake Orion Community School officials will present a new district-wide initiative aimed at preventing bullying in schools at a board meeting Wednesday evening.

The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, according to its website, “is designed to improve peer relations and make schools safer, more positive places for students to learn and develop.”

Matt Philips, president of the Lake Orion Education Foundation, says the initiative is long overdue.

“Michigan is one of three states that doesn’t have legislation mandating the program. You don’t need a mandate to do what’s right,” Philips said.

Although the main goal of the program is to stop bullying in its traditional sense, it also tries to prevent most situations where students are socially uncomfortable. Philips says the program allows for better communication between students.

“A child sitting at a lunch table by themselves may not necessarily seem like bullying, but it’s isolating a child and so there’s an initiative to get other kids to go sit down with them and understand or recognize their surroundings a little bit better,” Philips said.

Philips says his organization will need to come up with the proper resources needed to make the program successful.

“Certainly funding is an issue, so that’s where the Lake Orion Education Foundation comes in. We’re gonna raise additional funds and awareness in the district,” Philips said.

This district wide rollout follows a pilot program last year at Oak View Middle School.

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