As National Bullying Prevention Month continues, State Senator Patty Ritchie is announcing she has delivered special funding to improve anti-bullying efforts in schools throughout Central and Northern New York.
Funding announced today is part of $1 million in state budget funding secured by the Senate to help implement or continue the “Sources of Strength” program in schools throughout the state. Founded in the 1990s, Sources of Strength is a comprehensive wellness program that brings together adults and students—who act as “peer mentors”—to reduce instances of bullying, violence and suicide.
“Studies have shown that in today’s world, bullying is more than just harmless teasing, it can have significant effects that impact safety, health and a child’s ability to learn,” said Senator Ritchie.
“The Sources of Strength program uses a unique approach to reduce instances of bullying and I’m pleased to provide this funding, which will help make schools throughout Central and Northern New York safer places for our students.”
The funding secured by Senator Ritchie will benefit the following school districts in the region she represents:
Thousand Islands Central School District
Watertown City School District
Indian River Central School District
Fulton City School District
Canton Central School District
“Each and every day, the Thousand Islands Central School District strives to create an environment that is free from bullying where learning is the most important thing on the minds of our students,” said Frank House, Superintendent of the Thousand Islands Central School District, where the Sources of Strength program has been used for two years at the high school level. Now, thanks to funding secured by Senator Ritchie, the program will be expanded to the district’s middle school.
“Sources of Strength has helped us bring adults and students together to work toward that goal. We cannot thank Senator Ritchie enough for this funding, which will help to ensure this important program expands and continues in our district.”
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in the United States 28 percent of students in grades 6-12 have experienced bullying. In addition, according to a recent study, school-based bullying prevention programs—like Sources of Strength—decrease bullying by up to 25 percent.