Dalton elementary fights back against bullying - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Dalton elementary fights back against bullying

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Paul Shahen
Eyewitness News Reporter

DALTON, WHITFIELD COUNTY (WRCB) - One local school is fighting back against bullying. They've adopted a world famous program developed decades ago to do so. The program was developed in the 70's and it's been evolving ever since.

Dawnville Elementary has bought in. They say they're already seeing results. They also say educating students at such an early age is the best way to do it.

"I am a Dawnville Defender," echoed the halls of Dawnville Elementary school on Wednesday.

It's the first school in the area to adopt the Olweus bullying prevention program. A few simple rules: Don't bully others; help those who are being bullied; tell someone who can help.

Principal Sherrie Travisano says, "for us as adults if there's something we can stop, stop someone from feeling less of themselves, then we need to do that."

Travisano is one of 20 in Georgia who's graduated the two year Olweus program. She says times have changed, bullying is no longer a right of passage.

First grade teacher Amy Fossett agrees, "in the past we would just try to correct the person who was doing the bullying, now we focus on the victim, we let them know that bullying is wrong, and it's not their fault, and they did not do anything to cause the bullying."

Each week, 10 minutes of class time is dedicated to the program. Students have created paper chains to show support, they wear Defender wristbands.  But it's not just the students. The program includes the parents.

"They've been so supportive, they really have," said Travisano.

 As the past has shown, bullying can lead to serious problems.

"It can keep them from being as safe and successful as they can. We want the social norms to be there for each child, to be able to learn as much as they can," added Travisano.

New Hope Middle School has already kicked off the Olweus program. North Whitfield Middle School, and Valley Point Elementary are planning the same.

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