KINGSFORD - The hallways of 11 area schools will now be displaying banners that were unveiled to bring an awareness to the problem of bullying.
This is another step forward in the work being conducted by a committee of educators that has been working on an anti-bullying campaign for area schools.
The group has been meeting since fall, with the campaign officially launched in January.
Five student artists from Kingsford High School were responsible for creating the banners that were selected with anti-bullying themes and the logos of all the schools on them.
The banner designed by Gunnar Forstrom encourages students to make the choice of being kind and standing up to speak out against bullying.
Erika Rahoi's banner
states that, "It Isn't Big To Make Others Feel Small." Lacie Miller's poster encourages kids to stop bullying and speak out, and a banner designed by Lisa Bruen states, "Meanness is a sign of weakness."
Vincent Mancuso's poster shows all of the participating schools and the theme of "Do What's Right and Join The Fight to Stop Bullying."
Once the banners were designed and selected, the Dickinson-Iron Tech Center produced the finished products in both vinyl and paper that were distributed to the schools.
Schools participating in the anti-bullying campaign are Breitung Township Schools, Bishop Baraga Catholic School, Iron Mountain Public Schools, Norway Schools, Iron Mountain-Kingsford Community Schools Alternative Education Program, Dickinson-Iron Intermediate School District Vocational Center, North Dickinson School, Niagara School, Florence Schools, West Iron County Schools and Forest Park Schools.
The anti-bullying committee includes staff members from each of these schools as well as Geno Basanese, school liaison officer with the Michigan State Police.
Other parts of the campaign organized by this committee have included putting the Eyes of Bullying informative presentation on each of the school district websites. The goal, since the inception of the group, has been to present a unified approach to bullying.
Another aspect of the committee's work is to educate students, staff, and parents about how to identify bullying and properly address the different forms of bullying.
The committee is working on plans to have a professional development day for the school district staffs on Thursday, Sept. 20, at Kingsford High School.
Col. David Grossman, a well-known expert on the problem, will be the main speaker that day giving a presentation in the morning and topic-specific break-out sessions in the afternoon. There may also be an evening presentation for the community, committee members said.
The committee members have also been working on a unified policy and procedure to handle bullying dealing with first offenses as well as third or fourth offenses.
With the definition of bullying adopted across all the school district and the same actions taken, a common approach to the problem can be reached.
The goal is to have an anti-bullying plan in place by the start of the 2012-13 school year.
Linda Lobeck's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.