The lessons learned from the “Survivor” reality television show have been adapted to help Chilhowie Middle School students deal with bullying.
Other programs in the system are helping students improve their chances of success in school.
Principal Sam Blevins and Shannon Gentry, guidance counselor, gave a presentation at Monday’s school board meeting on their school’s anti-bullying program that has become a big hit with students.
Students divide into small groups, or tribes, and compete for prizes and points while raising money for the American Cancer Society. The motto of “Out Think, Out Learn, Out Perform” keeps the students on track to building self-esteem and cooperation. They each sign a pledge against bullying and participate in numerous creative activities throughout the year.
Bullying Prevention Month is recognized each October by the Virginia School Boards Association and Smyth County’s board adopted its certificate of recognition at Monday’s meeting.
The certificate notes that school bullying is a significant problem with more than 20 percent of American youth estimated to be involved as either a victim or a bully and 160,000 students in K-12 missing school due to a fear of being bullied.
“It is important for Virginia parents, students, teachers and school administrators to be aware of bullying, and to encourage discussion of the problem as a school community,” said Gov. Ralph Northam.
Other programs designed to help students succeed in school include:
TOP, or Teen Outreach Program, promotes positive development through a unique combination of curriculum and community service with topics such as managing emotions, making decisions, setting goals, social identity, communication and health. Teens develop supportive relationships with trained adult facilitators and peers in the program. Students also complete 20 hours of community service learning in an in-school setting.
A special trauma program to help students dealing with trauma outside of school, including domestic abuse, neglect, substance abuse or violence that can impact a student’s day in school or lead to absences. There is a community meeting set for Tuesday, Oct. 15, from 1-5 p.m. at the Lincoln Theatre in downtown Marion for discussion of the issue concerning trauma in the lives of students. There will be professionals in the field present and the community is invited to attend and participate.