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Anti-bullying program to begin in Monessen schools

| Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

The Monessen School District will implement a new anti-bullying program at the start of the 2013-14 school year.

At its regular monthly meeting Tuesday, the school board got an introduction to the Olweus Bully Prevention Program.

Middle School Principal Sherry Castaneda-Black recently completed training in the program and introduced it to the elementary center in January.

Castaneda-Black said anti-bullying is one of the issues that the state is encouraging school districts to take preventive measures.

“This program shows the district is taking an active stance against bullying,” Castaneda-Black said.

She said the program teaches the signs of bullying.

“Everybody is trained so they can intervene at any time,” Castaneda-Black said.

Teachers will have weekly meetings in their classrooms about bullying.

“As you get to know people, it's harder to hurt people,” Castaneda-Black said.

The rules of bullying will be introduced to students, including the following:

• We will not bully others.

• We will try to help students who are bullied.

• We will include students who are left out.

• If we know that somebody is being bullied, we will tell an adult at school and an adult at home.

Castaneda-Black said reported incidents of bullying will likely increase when the program is implemented because students will be encouraged to report incidents. But that will be the first step toward stopping bullying she said.

In other business, the board approved the following retirements:

• Melcena Mendicino, elementary health and physical education teacher.

• Vicki Furnier, high school computer applications and ac-counting teacher.

• Dominick Sarnese, high school mathematics teacher.

• Darlene Pushnack, kindergarten teacher;

• Ann Ghinassi, elementary special instructor.

• Joyce Octave, first grade teacher.

• Major Corley, high school/middle school hall monitor.

• Richard Yanachik, athletic trainer.

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or cbuckley@tribweb.com.

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