WJC Community Members Speak with WBUR’s Radio Boston About Bullying in Schools

January 23, 2020

Developing a school culture around kindness, respect, honesty and other positive characteristics creates a safe space where bullying is unacceptable and less prevalent.

The deaths of Phoebe Prince in South Hadley and Carl Walker-Hoover in Springfield ten years ago by suicide inspired the state to take steps to address bullying in schools. Nancy Rappaport, child psychiatrist and instructor in the William James College continuing education program, and André Ravenelle, executive director of Teachers21 at William James College, spoke with Tiziana Dearing of WBUR’s Radio Boston on this topic.

Rappaport discussed what changes schools have made that have had the most impact. “The most important part probably would be around the training and the expectation that staff and students are given an opportunity to learn how to respond to bullying and the expectation that we don’t just do piecemeal kinds of interventions,” she explained. She also discussed the role of parents, the importance of communication among staff, students and parents, cyberbullying and establishing a culture of safety.

Ravenelle, who previously served as superintendent of Fitchburg Public Schools, explained how developing a school culture around kindness, respect, honesty and other positive characteristics ultimately create a safe space where bullying is unacceptable and less prevalent.

Rappaport teaches a webinar, Keeping Our Schools Safe: What Every Educator Should Know About Safety Assessment through the William James College continuing education program. This webinar provides a comprehensive school safety assessment approach to help prevent school violence and provide resources to families in need.

Teachers21 at William James College is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the professional practice of Pre-K through grade 12 educators through a variety of professional development and consulting services, programs, courses, and one-on-one coaching.

Listen to the entire interview here.