For Immediate Release: March 5, 2003
by Sen. Rozell Has Far-Reaching
A piece of legislation designed to curb bullying in the states elementary and secondary schools is making an impact not only in Oklahoma, but also in schools across the nation, according to Senator Herb Rozell, D-Tahlequah.
Senator Rozell co-authored SB 992, the School Bullying Prevention Act, which was approved during the 2002 session of the Oklahoma Legislature. The measure requires the states public school districts to have a comprehensive set of policies that prohibit harassment, intimidation, and bullying by students. In addition, the law requires schools to implement programs designed to prevent violent behavior and disruptions of the learning environment.
As an educator and administrator, I have seen the negative effects that bullying has on both victims and perpetrators. One of my goals with this legislation was to respond to research that suggests bullies are more likely to commit crimes in their adult lives, explained Senator Rozell.
A school district where Senator Rozell once taught has been among the most successful in responding to the mandates set forth in the Act.
The Tahlequah Public Schools has been recognized as a national leader in the implementation of anti-bullying policies and programs. Recent research suggests that Tahlequah Public Schools district-wide program in only its third year has caused a dramatic decrease in incidents of violence throughout the district, according to Assistant Superintendent Billie Jordan.
Our success rate has been recognized nationally by our peers. In the last several years, our district administrators and staff have presented to national conferences and have trained teachers and administrators across the nation, Jordan said.
During the week of March 10, 2003, Tahlequah Middle School Safety Coordinator Fred Poteete will present the Tahlequah program to the National Safety Coordinators Training Conference in Washington, D.C. Poteete has also been interviewed for a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation program on bullying and has trained safety coordinators in other states.
Senator Rozells legislation really helped set the tone for similar programs that are having an effect in districts across the state. We have been fortunate to be able to present to and train some of the personnel in these districts and in other parts of the country, Jordan added.
Senator Rozell says he is proud that a school system in his home district has been a leader in meeting the goals set forth in the School Bullying Prevention Act.
To have a national trendsetter in my district is something to be proud of. It makes me especially happy that the staff of Tahlequah Public Schools has been able to train other school districts to implement similar anti-bullying programs that meet the requirements of the Act, Senator Rozell said.
This means that other schools in our state and nation will also have quality programs in place that encourage positive behavior and a safe learning environment where students can excel.
For more information, contact Senator Herb Rozells office: (405) 521-5574