SALINEVILLE - At the Jan. 8 meeting of the Southern Local Board of Education, the board voted to approve an Anti-Bullying Club for seventh through twelfth grade students.
Bullying awareness has been picking up momentum across the country and in Columbiana County with several area school districts considering their options to combat the problem.
Southern Local does not have a significant bullying problem due partially to its relatively small size and rural setting, according to guidance counselor Nancy Saling who helped organize a recent anti-bullying assembly alongside truancy officer Jackie Dalonzo.
Pictured are the winners of Southern Local’s Anti-Bullying poster contest. The contest was held as part of the schools Dec. 19 Anti-bullying assembly. The theme of the assembly was “You have a right not to be bullied.” The event also featured guest speakers Officer Steve Boyd from the Sheriff’s Department and Joe Albus from Bethany College. Winners include (from left, back row) Jenna Ronshak, seventh grade; Harley Palmer, ninth grade; Alysha Zwick, eighth grade; and (front) McKenna Boals, twelfth grade; Steven Treadway, twelfth grade; and Keiley Weeks, tenth grade. (Submitted Photo)
Saling added "Kids are kids," explaining that instances of bullying do occasionally occur at which time the administration works with all parties involved to resolve the problem.
Southern's Anti-Bullying Club is a student initiative. Students came to Saling concerned with bullying in neighboring school districts and wanting to set up a support system within their own school. "Once they got started they really became enthusiastic and put a lot of effort into the project."
As part of their initiative to raise bullying awareness, students organized an assembly for the junior high and high school on Dec. 19. The technology club and class lent a hand by researching multi-media resources like Youtube to find anti-bullying themed videos.
Art classes grades 7 through 12 held a poster contest featuring posters promoting anti-bullying messages. The winners were recognized by board members at Tuesday night's board meeting.
Junior high student Winona Boyd created and presented a video emphasizing the positives of individuality.
Southern graduate and daughter of Nancy Saling, Jen Sailing, got involved by helping students write and prepare skits for the assembly. The skits demonstrated bullying scenarios and were followed by open discussions of how students as bystanders could intervene in ways that do not enable the bully.
The assembly also featured several guest speakers including Officer Steve Boyd from the sheriffs department and Joe Albus, an actor from Bethany college who performed monologues on sensitive issues.
Officer Boyd challenged the student body to be the first area school to found an anti-bullying club. The students who had organized the assembly gladly stepped up to the challenge and on Jan. 8 board gave the club the okay.
"The students responded very well to the presentations," said Saling. "As a guidance counselor, I am very proud my students showed such initiative and enthusiasm and put in so much time and hard work for this great cause." Saling stated that the club is to receive grant money from Walmart and is planning to fund posters, t-shirts and other visual reminders featuring anti-bullying messages.
In other board of education business:
*Board approved several recommendations
-13-001 authorizes the Superintendent to accept resignations on behalf of the board when the board in not in session.
-13-002 to authorizes the Superintendent to make offers of employment directly to candidates to both teaching and non-teaching positions on behalf of the board.
-13-003 to join the Ohio School Boards Association for the 2013 school year.
-13-004 to submit the annual tax budget for consideration to the County Budget Commission Presented by the treasurer.
-13-005 to accept the resignation of Brittany McElroy as 8th grade girls basketball coach for the 2012-13 school year
-13-006 approving substitutes for the following: James Ryan Smith:teacher, Janice Pierce:teacher. Tessa McClellan:custodian, cafeteria worker, secretary, educational aid.
-13-007 approving of Natalie Saling as tutor.
-13-008 to go to executive session regarding "Matters required to be kept confidential by federal law or rules or state statutes.
*As part of their annual organizational meeting the board of education nominated the following members for the following positions for 2013
-Mike Abraham: President
-Bill Pitts: Vice-President
-Linda Morris: All-County Board of Education Representative
-John Sawyer :Legislative Liaison to OSBA
-Andrew Frischorn: Student Achievement Liaison