Protecting our children from bullying is very important

School is a place where parents hope to find for their children a learning experience in a nurturing environment. We send our children to school each day feeling we have set them down a path to become healthy, educated individuals where their dreams and life goals can be realized. Unfortunately, bullying can irrevocably alter these dreams for both the victim and the perpetrator.

Statistics from the Journal of the American Medical Association show nearly 30 percent of all youths ages 11 to 15 have been a victim or perpetrator of bullying.

The U.S. Department of Edu-cation states one in four children who bully have a criminal record by the age of 30.

These are sobering statistics for parents and educators. How-ever, we are fortunate to live in a state that has adopted an aggressive stance on bullying. New Jersey school districts are required to adopt policies that directly prohibit bullying, harassment and intimidation on school property, at school-sponsored functions or on school buses.

Under the state’s guidelines, schools can more efficiently address this behavior and take the appropriate actions to remedy the situation for all.

Prevention First took a stance on bullying by creating the Courageous Kids program. The four-lesson program is based on research and is designed to reach children early on in kindergarten through third grade. It challenges youngsters to think of the reasons behind bullying behavior and what steps can be taken avoid it.

Courageous Kids receives high marks from educators using the curriculum and has been recognized as a significant factor in fostering safer schools in our area.

In addition to developing the Courageous Kids program aimed at preventing negative, bullying behavior, Prevention First’s research has found that constructive use of time – pursuing hobbies and interests – helps prevent adolescent engagement in drug use and other detrimental behaviors.

In addition, children learn assertiveness skills and to think about the consequences of their actions on others.

For more information about Prevention First programs, log on to

Mary Pat Angelini

executive director

Prevention First

Ocean Township