With violence in schools in the national news, people may wonder what the Bangor School Department is doing to prevent violence. Here are some of the Bangor School Department’s programs aimed at social-emotional learning and violence prevention:
Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan
The Bangor School Department works with the Bangor Police and Fire Departments to create a Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan that outlines responses to violence in schools, fire, bomb threats, natural disasters, and other emergencies. The plan is updated at least annually, or more often if needed.
Social-Emotional Learning Powerpoint Presentation
The following link is a presentation given by the school guidance counselors at a School Committee meeting explaining the social-emotional learning programs in the Bangor schools: BSD Presentation – SEL
K-8 Second Step Social-Emotional Learning
According to the Centers for Disease Control, a strategy proven to reduce rates of aggression and violent behavior among students is universal, school-based violence prevention programs delivered to all students, focusing on emotional self-awareness, emotional control, self-esteem, positive social skills, social problem-solving, conflict resolution, and teamwork. The Bangor School Department delivers district-wide social-emotional learning (SEL) for all students in grades K-8 using evidence-based curriculum from Second Step. Second Step SEL age-appropriate lessons are delivered to students year-round by guidance counselors that students know and trust.
*This program is funded by a STOP School Violence grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, which the Bangor School Department and City of Bangor applied for and was awarded in 2018.
Grades K-5 SEL: Bangor’s seven elementary schools currently use Second Step’s K-5 SEL program, delivered to students by the school guidance counselor in the classroom . Children learn how to make friends, manage their emotions, solve problems, and deal with peer pressure.
Grades 6-8 SEL: In grades 6-8, the school guidance counselor delivers lessons in the classroom from the middle school SEL program, which addresses four key areas of SEL: mindsets and goals; values and friendships; thoughts, emotions, and decisions; and serious peer conflicts.
In grades K-5, guidance counselors deliver Second Step’s Bullying Prevention Unit in the classroom. The four-unit curriculum helps students identify and recognize bullying, identify caring adults to talk to about mean behaviors, how to report bullying, how to apply assertiveness skills to refuse bullying in response to scenarios, and how bystanders can help stop bullying. The grade 4-5 curriculum also addresses cyber bullying. The bullying prevention curriculum is funded by the STOP School Violence grant*.
In grades 6-8, bullying is addressed in the grades 6-8 Second Step SEL in Unit 4, “Serious Peer Conflicts.” Students in grades 6-8 also have an annual assembly about bullying. **In 2020, the assembly presentation (“Spread Kindness Campaign”) is made possible by a community grant from Walmart’s Bangor location, which the Bangor School Department applied for and was awarded in 2019.
Sandy Hook Promise Say Something Program
At Bangor High School, students in grades 9-12 attend assemblies of Sandy Hook Promise’s Say Something Program. This program teaches youth and teens how to recognize the warning signs and threats – especially on social media – of someone at risk or hurting themselves or others, and how to get help by talking to a trusted adult or reporting anonymously through the Say Something-Anonymous Reporting System 24/7 Crisis Center, mobile app, or website. Bangor High School has also implemented a SAVE (Students Against Violence Everywhere) Promise Club. This program is funded by the STOP School Violence grant*.
Sandy Hook Promise Signs of Suicide (SOS) Program
Faculty and staff members at Bangor High School have received professional development training in Sandy Hook Promise’s Signs of Suicide (SOS) Program. This program trains school staff members so that they can educate students to recognize the symptoms of depression and suicide. This program is funded by the STOP School Violence grant*.
The Bangor School Department, in partnership with the Southern Penobscot Regional Program for Children with Exceptionalities (SPRPCE), offers parent workshops to inform and empower parents and guardians to help their children with social-emotional challenges. Over the last few years, parents were invited to free workshops by Heather Forbes, LLC about how to help traumatized children and children with anxiety. Ms. Forbes has free parenting solutions videos on her website, Beyond Consequences Institute. Future parent workshops will be posted on the Bangor School Department website and Facebook page.
Teacher Professional Development
Every staff member in the Bangor School Department completes the following trainings to keep students safe: Active Shooter; Bullying Prevention and Response; Mandated Reporter; Blood Borne Pathogens; Affirmative Action; and De-escalation and Conflict Resolution. In addition, during teacher in-service days, workshops focus on how teachers can help students with social-emotional learning.
School Resource Officers
The Bangor School Department is fortunate to have two School Resource Officers from the Bangor Police Department assigned to the city’s ten schools.