PHILADELPHIA, PA, August 19, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Rancocas Valley Regional High School
is combating bullying on all fronts. The school's superintendent sees how kids torment and tease one another and is working diligently to end the bullying epidemic in his corner of America. Kids with special needs often face bullying, and helping them cope is challenging. Minimizing and celebrating differences are techniques used to combat the bullying of special needs children.
A recent article published by Chicago Parent discusses how to help special needs children handle bullies. The article argues that children with special needs are two to three times more likely to fall victim to bullying because bullies see them as easy prey. Jerry Jellig says he unfortunately agrees, and is working with his own children and the students at Rancocas Valley Regional High School to combat this horrible statistic.
"There are few greater teachable moments - and I say this as a father of four and superintendent of 2,100 - than discussing differences," Jerry Jellig said. "It's critical to get young people to a place where they're comfortable with differences. Bullying and teasing of people who are different occurs when we don't understand each other's differences."
The article argues that one way to combat the bullying of kids with special needs is to explain what types of special needs exist within the student population. Helping students understand what makes people different, and the benefits of that diversity, can eliminate some bullying.
At Rancocas Valley Regional High School, an anti-bullying initiative celebrates diversity and differences in an attempt to halt the bullying epidemic. The program encourages students to anonymously report their peers and prevent bullying before it begins. It is also, according to Jerry Jellig, driven by teacher relationships with their students, which make Rancocas Valley a comfortable and accepting place for all kinds of young people.
"Our typically developing students have grown by leaps and bounds, and frankly in ways more important than literacy and numeracy, because we are intentional about discussing differences," Jellig said. "And with our special needs children we recognize their social inhibitors and have parallel goals for them to teach them self-advocacy, and self-actualization, where possible. We teach all our students all the avenues to success in life."
Schools can help students with special needs by paying close attention to their social interactions with the general student body. Buddy systems that partner special needs students with others while on school busses and in other settings can help prevent bullying before it occurs. Promoting friendship and understanding is ultimately one of the most important things parents, schools and students can do to combat bullying of all types. The Rancocas Valley Regional High School's anti-bullying campaign has already achieved success, and the school's leadership encourages parents of bullied students to take heart that the organization is working to combat this issue and help victims and perpetrators of bullying adjust and succeed.
Rancocas Valley Regional High School
is an innovative public high school in New Jersey. The school has successfully launched an anti-bullying campaign that utilizes faculty and student leaders to report, track and prevent bullying and harassment. Rancocas Valley also invests heavily in a wellness program that focuses on students' minds and bodies through a challenging academic environment, proper nutrition and physical exercise. Under Superintendent Jerry Jellig's leadership, the school eliminated the achievement gap between Caucasian and African-American students. Enrollment in Advanced Placement classes is also at an all-time high.