Arts Horizons Provides Novel Anti-Bullying Program to Tackle Tough Social Issues in Schools
Englewood, NJ (WiredPRNews) — With the opening of school a few weeks away, educators are rethinking their approaches to some of the dangerous social issues in schools across America, and bullying is at the top of that list. Bullying at school is a pervasive problem that affects millions of students every year. According to a recent study by the Curry School of Education of the University of Virginia, student bullying is one of the most frequently reported discipline problems at school: 21% of elementary schools, 43% of middle schools, and 22% of high schools reported problems with bullying.
One organization is offering a new approach to this age-old problem. Arts Horizons, www.artshorizons.org, a not-for-profit organization based in Englewood, NJ, that brings arts programming to public schools, is taking a unique approach to the bullying problem by offering performance assemblies with musicians and improv artists that focus on a strong anti-bullying message and stress respect, kindness and positive choices.
According to Elizabeth Halverstam, Executive Director of Arts Horizons, the idea to develop an arts program that focuses on bullying was a natural choice: “Since our educators are in schools throughout the region every day, we get to observe student behavior at very close range,” she said. “We also know that the arts offer a unique platform for presenting and discussing social problems with students without preaching, lecturing or punishing.”
Research indicates that there is a “Code of Silence” among students, a pervasive sense that telling an adult that they or another student is in pain violates an unwritten, but powerful principle. Safety experts say that in four out of five school shootings, the attackers boasted to other students beforehand about their plans to commit violence, yet no students came forward.
“The problem with bullying is that it’s often hidden within the regular school day, and affects so many — those who are being bullied, those who are doing the bullying as well as the innocent bystanders who watch from the sidelines too afraid to get involved,” said Emily Iannaconi, NJ Certified School Psychologist. “What’s even more insidious is the speed with which bullying proliferates in a school setting, and the atmosphere of fear and hatred that it creates. For this reason, it is very important for educators and parents to recognize the signs of bullying, and to seek professional help and guidance if they suspect a problem.”
The New Jersey Bullying Organization offers warning signs. A child might be suffering from bullying if he or she:
• Comes home with torn, damaged, or missing pieces of clothing, books, or belongings
• Has unexplained cuts, bruises, and scratches
• Has few, if any friends, with whom he or she spends time
• Seems afraid of going to school, walking to and from school, riding the school bus
• Does not want to participate in organized activities with peers, such as sports or clubs
• Takes a long, “illogical” route when walking to or from school
• Has lost interest in school work or suddenly begins to do poorly in school
• Appears sad, moody, teary, or depressed when he or she comes home
• Complains frequently of headaches, stomach aches, or other physical ailments
• Has trouble sleeping or has frequent bad dreams
• Experiences a loss of appetite
• Appears anxious and/or suffers from low self-esteem
For more information about bullying and what you can do about it, visit: (www.njbullying.org/resources.htm)
About Arts Horizons
Arts Horizons, located in Englewood, NJ, is a premier arts-in-education, non-profit organization that reaches more than 250,000 children, teachers and parents a year throughout New Jersey and the New York/Metropolitan area, with vibrant school and community-based programs where children gain appreciation for the arts. Founded in 1978, Arts Horizons is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York and New Jersey State Councils on the Arts as well as numerous foundations, corporations and generous individuals. To learn more about Arts Horizons and the Anti-Bullying Program, please visit: www.artshorizons.org or call (201) 567-1766 Ext. 106.
For media interviews contact: Karen Sperling (201) 543-7421 [email protected]