Prairie Crossing Charter School in Grayslake launched its second annual Bully Awareness Week with a ceremony Monday.
Bullying facts and other information were presented to students, parents and teachers who attended the opening ceremony. Prairie Crossing's Parent Staff Organization also hosted a forum in the evening.
Prairie Crossing's dean of faculty and students, Andrea Koeniger, said the school's Bully Awareness Week is meant for students to learn how to identify disrespectful behavior. It also should help empower the children on how to appropriately address negative behavior.
"Our goal is for our students to have the tools and strategies to address and react to disrespectful behavior and also who to go to for support when a bullying situation is taking place," Koeniger said.
More and more suburban schools are tackling the bullying issue. For example, Libertyville's Highland Middle School now has an online form for complaints about possible bullying.
Earlier this month, Indian Prairie Unit District 204 and its parents council hosted a bullying prevention presentation at Crone Middle School in Naperville.
At Prairie Crossing Charter School, social worker Caryn Meter and student council members were among those to make presentations at Monday's kickoff ceremony. Students were told about bullying statistics and a "Stop-Walk-Talk" initiative by the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports program.
"Stop-Walk-Talk" is a three-step method for students to handle gossip, inappropriate remarks, cyberbullying and other problems. One recommendation is for schools to establish hand commands and words to use to halt bullying attempts.
Prairie Crossing's seventh- and eighth-graders will watch the movie "Bully" as part of the special week. Children in grades three through six will see "Speak Up."
Students in all grades also will have bullying discussions tailored to meet their ages and level of understanding.
About 28 percent of sixth- through 12th-graders experienced bullying, according to the most recently available 2009 National Center for Education Statistics report on the subject.
Parents in Gurnee-based Woodland Elementary District 50 and Fremont Elementary District 79 in the Mundelein area may send their children at no extra cost to the 392-student-capacity Prairie Crossing, which determines enrollment by lottery