A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Karen McCuiston: Kentucky Safe Schools Week Oct. 21-27 offers important opportunity for engagement

Every third week of October, schools across Kentucky have an opportunity to partner with their local lawmakers, first responders and community members to observe Kentucky Safe Schools Week. The week is designed to raise awareness of school safety issues and initiatives at the local and state level.

This year, the Kentucky Center for School Safety (KCSS) has announced that Kentucky Safe Schools Week is set for Oct. 21–27. This year’s theme is “BE INCREDIBLE, Reveal Your Superhero!” The center encourages community members, educators, students and parents to participate during Kentucky Safe Schools Week.

As schools prepare for safe school week, the emphasis of the activities this year is being placed on Kentucky’s incredible students. Being incredible is simply being the best you can possibly be. Every student has incredible super skills and talents that make them unique and strong.

The staff at KCSS is asking our incredible students to band together with school staff and the community to create a safe “family-like” culture at school. Incredible superpowers can be used in fighting against bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, conflict, hate and violence, while spreading empathy, compassion and respect. As quoted from Disney’s “Incredibles 2” movie, “It’s time to make some wrong things right! Help me bring supers back into the sunlight.”

Solving issues such as bullying, harassment and violence may be as easy as leaving an online tip. Students can be a “Silent Hero” and help without fear of retaliation. The KCSS partners with schools to provide a free online reporting tool, the S.T.O.P! TIPLINE. The tip line encourages students, parents or community members who know of an unsafe situation in school to anonymously pass on that information to school personnel online.

During Safe Schools Week, the KCSS website supplies a variety of teaching aids, along with the online pledge against bullying. A Kentucky Safe Schools Week Tool Kit also is available and is loaded with resources such as daily announcements, activity pages, PowerPoint presentations, lessons, videos, scenarios and interactive websites. Resources also will be available for school administrators, parents and community members on the KCSS website.

This year’s online pledge against bullying highlights the word SUPER – S-Strong, U-Understanding, P-Powerful, E-Encouraging and R-Respectful – and the qualities necessary to bring “Supers” into the sunlight. You can see the pledge on the KCSS website.

Kentucky’s “BE INCREDIBLE, Reveal Your Superhero!” campaign is sponsored by the Kentucky Center for School Safety. This observance coincides with the national campaign. America’s Safe Schools Week.

I support and encourage all Kentuckians to participate and bring awareness and support to safety issues in the schools across our Commonwealth. Joining together, we can make a personal commitment to reduce intimidation and harassment in our schools, while we work to improve culture and build meaningful relationships.

Karen McCuiston is director of the Kentucky Center for School Safety Resource Center.

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