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Everything listed under: Safety

  • Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri Partner with Missouri Schools to Prevent Violence

    No parent or teacher wants to worry that his or her students are subject to bullying or violence. That’s why the Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri has been working with Missouri schools for more than a decade through an anti-violence education program called PAVE (Project Anti-Violence Education).

    Missouri schools can leverage the PAVE program for free, and it benefits boys and girls, both.

    PAVE in the Classroom
    A trained facilitator will come into the classroom to work with boys and girls K-12.

    PAVE Girl Power Groups
    These eight-week programs bring together smaller groups of girls in grades 7-12 to focus on issues related to aggressive behavior and peer abuse specifically between girls.

    The PAVE Full Service Experience
    The full-service PAVE option brings facilitators into the classroom up to four times and includes facilitation of at least one Girl Power Group.

    The topics covered in PAVE programs vary depending on the age of the students involved. 3rd graders, for instance, talk about bullying, anger management/violence, abuse, conflict resolution, and peer pressure. 9th and 10th graders, by contrast, discuss healthy relationships, cyber bullying and Internet safety, bullying, and inclusion/diversity.

    Teachers are receptive to the PAVE program: 98% reported that students demonstrated better control of their tempers in conflict situations in the classroom after PAVE, and 97% said that PAVE helped students do better at following classroom rules, reducing interruptions that impact learning in the classroom.

    More than 300,000 young people in Eastern Missouri have benefited from the PAVE program already, and in 2012-13, more than 100 schools in Eastern Missouri used the PAVE program.

    To learn more about PAVE and how the Girls Scouts of Eastern Missouri can help your child or your school, visit their website or contact Michelle Johnson at 314-592-2344 or

    More Missouri Parent Posts on Bullying:
    Infographic Shows Seriousness of Cyber Bullying
    Bullying in Schools: How Adults Can Help

  • Girls Are Bullied, Too

    Bullying is a problem for today’s kids, both in person and online. But did you know that girls are more than twice as likely than boys to be cyber bullied? (source) And girl bullies don’t fit the old-fashioned stereotype of a bully, either.

    The National Crime Prevention Council says that, “The typical girl who bullies is popular, well-liked by adults, does well in school, and can even be friends with the girls she bullies. She doesn't get into fist fights, although some girls who bully do. Instead, she spreads rumors, gossips, excludes others, shares secrets, and teases girls about their hair, weight, intelligence, and athletic ability. She usually bullies in a group and others join in or pressure her to bully.” (source)

    That sounds pretty different from the image many of us have in our minds of a bully, doesn’t it? Girls who bully aren’t necessarily bigger or stronger than their victims, but they can cause serious problems for the girls they pick on.

    And because girls tend to bully using their words (instead of physical tactics), their victims aren’t “safe” when they come home from school. Bullying continues online, via instant messages, and in email.

    If your daughter is being bullied, or if you think your daughter might be bullying other girls or boys, there are resources online that might be helpful for you to know about:

    This book list is from A Mighty Girl; “The world’s largest collection of books, toys and movies for smart, confident and courageous girls.” It includes more than a dozen books for you and your daughter that are specific to bullying among girls. The books are divided into age-appropriate categories, making it easier for you to pick out books that will help your and your daughter understand and manage bullying.

    The National Crime Prevention Council offers a wide variety of resources on bullying, including an entire section of its site that’s dedicated to bullying and girls. is another helpful resource devoted entirely to girls and bullying. The site defines bullying, helps parents to better-understand what bullying looks like (especially in girls), and explains why bullying hurts. There are tips on the site to help girls cope with bullying, and there are even a few online quizzes about bullying.

    For school counselors, teachers, administrators, or other adults who have a vested interested in ending bullying against girls, there are even conferences devoted entirely to ending girl bullying.

    For more from Missouri Parent on Bullying, see these posts:
    Infographic Shows Seriousness of Bullying
    Bullying in Schools: How Adults Can Help

  • Infographic Shows Seriousness of Cyber Bullying

    Click the partial image above for the full infographic.

    A professor of social media from the Syracuse University has put into an info-graphic what many parents already know: that cyber bullying is very real, and that it’s very dangerous.

    Dr. William J. Ward teaches at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. In this infographic designed by Eric Phillips, he highlights some startling facts about cyber bullying:

    · 1 in 6 teens are cyber bullied
    · Girls are more than twice as likely as boys to be cyber bullied
    · Whites are more than twice as likely as blacks to be cyber bullied
    · Bullying is illegal in all but one U.S. state
    · Cyber bulling victims are more like to commit suicide than are victims of offline bullying
    · Only 1 in 10 victims reaches out for help

    Cyber bullying is a real and potentially dangerous problem for kids and teens, but you can help. Read this Missouri Parent blog post on how adults can support bullied students. This post on managing online peer pressure might also be helpful to you.ty

  • Bullying in Schools: How Adults Can Help

    The National Education Association (NEA) has launched a national campaign against bullying, and it’s not just aimed at kids. The Bully Free Starts With Me campaign invites adults, including parents, to pledge to help bullied students. Whether you work or volunteer at your child’s school are otherwise active in your community’s youth and family programs, you can help.

    According to NEA, “Bullied students that go it alone because they don’t know who to turn to are far more likely to fall behind in their studies, get sick and/or depressed, miss school, and drop out. But research tells us that one caring adult can make all the difference in a bullied student’s life.” (source)

    If you’re inspired to make a difference in the life of a bullied child, take NEA’s Bully Free pledge. By doing so, you’re “promising students that they can talk to you and you will listen, stand up for them, and that they are not alone.” (source)

    “I agree to be identified as a caring adult who pledges to help bullied students. I will listen carefully to all students who seek my help and act on their behalf to put an immediate stop to the bullying. I will work with other caring adults to create a safe learning environment for all the students in my school.”

    As an advocate, your role is to listen to the bullied student who reaches out to you, and to take action to stop future bulling. Not sure exactly what that means? That’s okay; NEA provides advocates with the online resources needed to support bullied students.

    Join the Bully Free It Starts With Me campaign and take NEA’s pledge today. You can also access the NEA’s Bullying Prevention Kit — developed by educators for educators — here.

  • Helping Your Teen Manage Online Peer Pressure

    It’s no secret that your teen’s friends influence his or her behavior, but did you know that the photos that those friends post on social media profiles can influence the choices your teen makes about smoking and drinking?

    A recent study at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine showed that kids who see friends smoking and drinking in photos shared on social media sites are more like to smoke and drink.

    "The evidence suggests that friends' online behaviors are a viable source of peer influence," said researcher and post-doctorate fellow at the National Cancer Institute, Grace Huang, PhD.

    "This is important to know, given that 95 per cent of 12 to 17 year olds in the United States access the Internet every day, and 80 per cent of those youth use online social networking sites to communicate."

    Although it’s common sense that a teen’s online friends could apply direct or indirect peer pressure to students, the USC study the first of its kind to study peer pressure and social networks. Thomas Valante was the study’s principal investigator:

    "To our knowledge, this is the first study to apply social network analysis methods to examine how teenagers' activities on online social networking sites influence their smoking and alcohol use."

    The study showed that the size of a teenager’s social network wasn’t directly associated with their likelihood to engage in risky behaviors. When teens saw online pictures of friends drinking or smoking, however, they were more likely to smoke and drink, themselves.

    The study also revealed that if a teen’s close friends don’t drink, that teen is more susceptible to the pressure of seeing peers post online photos of themselves drinking.

    If your teen uses social media sites like Facebook or Twitter, setting realistic rules and expectations — and having open communications with your child — can help mitigate the peer pressure your child experiences online.

    Read Missouri Parent’s tips for keeping your teen safe on social media [Link to “Three Ways to Keep Your Teenager Safe on Social Media” post] for specific suggestions that can help you and your teen navigate online peer pressure together.

    Are resources like these helpful as a Missouri parent? Let us send email updates directly to your inbox by subscribing to MOParent emails. You can sign up at the top of this page.

  • Three Ways to Keep Your Teenager Safe on Social Media

    A recent study revealed that kids — even those whose closest friends don’t drink or smoke — are more likely to drink or smoke when they see pictures posted online of their social media friends smoking or drinking.

    While you can’t ever keep your teen 100% safe online, there are things you can do to mitigate the risk that your child will make unhealthy choices based on social media peer pressure.

    Honest Conversations
    Begin by realizing that your child faces traditional peer pressures like the ones you faced as a teen, but that a near-constant barrage of social media messages is also influencing him or her 24/7.

    Let your teen know that you recognize the pressures (online and off) to drink and smoke, and that you understand how intense those pressures can be.

    Listen to what your son or daughter has to say, and keep an open dialogue going with him or her about what’s happening at school, with friends, and online.

    Don’t Try to Outsmart Your Teen
    If your teenager knows more about technology than you do, attempting to outwit him or her on social media won’t help anyone. Instead, talk with your teen about the benefits and risks of social media use.

    Talk about the legal, academic, and social repercussions of sharing inappropriate or illegal pictures and statuses on social media.

    Talk about how online actions can affect real-life reputation, and remind your son or daughter that real friendships aren’t based on encouraging risky behaviors or online vulnerability.

    Profile Accessibility
    Make sure that you know what social media sites your teens uses, and that you have full access to view each of those profiles. Routinely — and openly — sit down with your teen to look at his or her online accounts together. Check security settings, talk about what your son or daughter has recently posted, and encourage your teen to share things with you that they’ve seen and enjoyed lately.

    Look together at what your child’s friends are posting, too. Talk to your son or daughter about how those things make him or her feel. Are there friends whose profiles make your child smile, laugh and feel good? What about friends whose pictures and updates make your child feel intimidated, pressured, or “not good enough”?

    You’ve helped your child navigate real life pressures and friendships since they were small, and you can help your teen do the same online.

    Come back to the MOParent Blog regularly for parenting tips, educational policy updates, and information about Missouri’s public schools. We can even send updates directly to your inbox! Just submit your email address and zip code at the to top of this page.

  • Back to School Safety Month: Walking & Biking to School

    Welcome back to MOParent’s three-part series on safe school transit. If you missed yesterday’s post, you can read it here. Today, we’re going to talk about the advantages of walking and bike riding to school, including ideas for group walks and rides and safety tips for your child.

    Good Health & Good for the Environment
    Walking or riding a bike to school keeps kids active and healthy, and both options are good for the environment, too. Your family may even save a few dollars on fuel over the school year if your child walks or rides a bike each day.

    Great Ideas from Other Parents
    Parents in some communities are forming “walk to school buses” and “bicycle trains”. Two adults supervise as the “engine” and the “caboose”, and the bus or train picks up neighborhood kids along the way. Learn more by vising these websites:
    Walk to School Bus 
    Bicycle Trains 

    Safety in Numbers
    If it’s an option, consider walking or riding to school with your child. If that’s not possible, here are some other ideas about how to create safety in numbers:
    · Talk to neighbors about your children walking to school together
    · If you have more than one child in the same school, teach them to walk together
    · Have a family friend who lives too far from school to walk? Invite them to drop their child off at your house in the morning so that your children can walk together

    Know the Way
    Be sure that he or she is 100% comfortable with the route to school, and that you’ve set ground rules for who they may walk with, how to avoid strangers, and whether or not diversions from the route (if any) are allowed.

    Bicycle Safety
    If you have your own bike, ride the route to school with your child a few times before letting them ride independently. Talk with your child about bicycle traffic laws and right-of-way, and make absolutely sure that their bike and helmet fit them properly. Finally, teach your child that anytime he or she is on a bicycle, a helmet should be worn.

    Helpful Links
    The National Highway Traffic Safety Association:Offers a variety of tips and resources ranging from proper helmet fit and kids’ bicycle safety worksheets to a bike safety checklist and traffic safety facts.
    The Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation: Bicycle education classes, road rules, safety skills, and an entire section devoted to teaching kids about bike safety.
    Bicycle Safety Activity Kit: Fun materials designed for parents & kids, including games and other resources

    SafeTomorrow on the MOParent Blog
    Come back tomorrow for the third and final segment in this three-part series on safe school commutes; a post with surprising safety information about school buses and driving your child to school.

    If you enjoyed this post, sign up at the top of this page for MOParent email updates!

  • Drive Safely This Fall to Protect Missouri’s Students: Part II

    Yesterday on the MOParent Blog, we offered tips on driving safely in and near Missouri’s schools. Today’s post continues on the theme of safe driving around school children, with an emphasis on driving safely near school buses and in rural areas.

    School Bus Passing
    Did you know that it’s illegal in Missouri to pass a school bus? Missouri’s school bus passing laws are serious business, and bus drivers will report you to police for passing.
    · Never pass a school bus whose lights are flashing or whose stop arm is extended,
    · Never pass a school bus on the right (where children load and unload).

    School bus passing laws are designed to keep children safe on their way to and from school, so no matter how frustrating it is to be stuck behind a school bus making frequent stops, resist the urge to pass.

    “When approaching a stopped school bus from either direction, the driver of the approaching vehicle is required to stop before reaching the bus if the school bus has indicated its intention to receive or discharge passengers by use of the signaling devices Drivers should also remember that school buses will activate their warning lights and come to a full stop before crossing railroad tracks. NEVER pass a parked school bus on the right, where children enter or exit.”
    -The Safe Motorist

    Bus Safety in Rural Areas

    According to the Missouri Rural Health Biennial Report 2010-2011, approximately 40% of Missouri’s population lives in rural areas.

    While students in more densely populated areas often have a large group to wait with at the bus stop, rural children often wait in smaller groups, with a sibling, or alone for their morning bus ride to school. With fewer kids at a single stop, it becomes even more important for drivers to pay extra attention to children standing near rural roads.

    Trash cans, trees, fog, and winter’s late-rising sun can all decrease visibility of students waiting for school buses. Avoid distracted driving, and be attentive on your morning commute to help protect Missouri’s school bus riders.

    MOParent is dedicated to safe, healthy public school experiences for Missouri’s families. For more helpful information from MOParent, sign up for MOParent’s email newsletters at the top of this page.

  • Drive Safely This Fall to Protect Missouri’s Students: Part I

    This video is from WDTN in Ohio but the basic rules are applicable anywhere.

    August is Back to School Safety Month, and we’re here to help you send your child back to school with confidence. Today and tomorrow we’ll talk about driving safely in and around Missouri schools and school buses.

    Note: This post is written with you — the Missouri parent in mind, but if you have a teenager driver at home, we encourage you to share this information with him or her, too.

    School Zone Safety
    Let’s start with safety in and around your child’s school. Missouri’s school zones are marked with signs, flashing lights, on-road markers painted on the pavement, or some combination of these.

    Signs should indicate what time of day your local school zone is “active”, but you should also be aware that anytime a school zone’s flashing lights are on, school zone speed laws should be followed. If you have any questions about the school zone speed limits or signage in your community, we encourage you to contact your local police station.

    “Children are generally carefree and are often oblivious to their surroundings; that is why it’s important that drivers go the extra length to protect them. If you are entering a school zone or are traveling in a heavily populated area, be aware of the activity surrounding you. It only takes a moment for a child to run out in front of your vehicle and, if you are speeding, you may not have enough time to react.”
    -The Missouri Driving University

    Safety Isn’t Just About Speed

    It’s important to drive at safe speeds in school zones, but speed isn’t the only precaution you should take.

    Increased pedestrian and bicycle traffic around schools mean that you should remain very aware of what’s happening on the road, crosswalks and sidewalks around you. And the smaller the child, the greater the chance that they’ll be hidden by other kids, a vehicle, or even a trash can or other small structure.

    Use caution backing out of parking spaces, never use your cell phone in a school zone, and be sure that you have visibility on all sides of your vehicle.

    Come back tomorrow for tips on driving safely near school buses, and for a advice on driving safely on rural school bus routes.

    For more tips on back to school safety, subscribe to MOParent email updates. It’s easy to subscribe: just submit your email address in the form at the top of this page.

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