• September 21, 2019

Ector to implement Bully Patrol - Odessa American: News

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Ector to implement Bully Patrol

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Posted: Tuesday, August 20, 2019 6:45 pm

Ector College Prep Success Academy wants to educate students about bullying while involving them in a program that would help prevent it this year.

The program was developed by local business owner Al Lara, who was part of organizing the Lowriders Against Bullying Car Show, which took place Aug. 17.

Ector’s first day of school is today. 

Assistant Principal Jose Porras said Lara approached Ector last year about the anti-bullying campaign. Reagan Paquette, also an assistant principal, said a lot of planning was done last year to implement the program although it won’t be put in place until this year. 

The Bully Patrol will be incorporated into Link Crew, a student leadership and mentoring group.

“Those are the kids that we really want to embrace this anti-bullying campaign so they can be our advocates for that,” Paquette said.

“The patrol is like the advocates, the leaders. And we have 1,500 kids,” Paquette said. “It’s hard for us to monitor 1,500 kids all the time, so I think that the goal is to get the kids involved so that we know what’s happening and we can help when we can’t be there all the time. They’re an extension of us.”

Lara said he has two granddaughters who will be going to Ector and he really wants them in the program.

“I need to make sure they understand and they can do better. My goal is to help the victim get self-esteem to get over, to be able to deal with what they’re going through in everyday life,” Lara said. “Second, is to help the bully because to me there’s something wrong at home. It starts from home. …”

Lara’s aim is to find out about a student’s home situation so the parents can be helped and then the student can be helped in a positive way.

“It all comes from a kid hurting,” Paquette said. “You hurt others because you’re hurting yourself. So like you’re saying, we just need to figure out the problem so that we can help them.”

She added that it’s a way to let the students know they’re not alone and that the school can help them and the students don’t have to be afraid to ask for help.

Porras said Paquette and her team have already developed “awesome relationships” with the Link Crew students.

Paquette said she reviewed a lot of items like respecting your peers and teachers. Link Crew members went through an interview process to be selected. She added that even though the program will start with Link Crew, that’s just a starting point. More students will be added as time goes on.

“Ultimately, I would hope it would be the whole campus. That’s the goal,” Paquette said.

Asked if Ector has a lot of bullying incidents, Porras said there were a couple of incidents last year, but a lot of people don’t know what bullying is.

“… There are all these misconceptions. Not only do the kids have to be trained on how to identify bullying and what bullying is, I think so do the parents and the teachers,” Porras said.

Paquette said it’s her opinion that youngsters are scared to say anything because they don’t want it to get worse, or make their friends mad.

“Or they’re just scared to say anything because they’re just scared. So I think telling them it’s OK to say something, or that they can trust us, building that relationship is highly important to even know it’s happening if we’re not visually seeing it. We need them to talk to us about it so we can help. We’re at a very hard age,” Paquette said.

She added that a lot of students keep quiet because they think they’ll be labeled a snitch and nobody will trust them.

“That’s why I thought Link Crew was important to this because she’s assigned kids from Link Crew to sixth graders, so if those sixth graders don’t feel comfortable coming to me per se, they have that Link Crew member that’s another student just like them and then that Link Crew member could take it up higher,” Porras said.

He added that the campus has retaliation guidelines for people who report bullying.

Paquette said plans are to bring in motivational speakers the first two weeks of school to motivate and inspire students.

She added that there could be an anti-bullying day a month, but those have to be discussed.

“It’s going to be a process,” Paquette said.

Principal Charles Quintela said Ector wants to be a model for other middle schools in the district because that’s where bullying happens most often.

“Kids between fifth grade (and) eighth grade have the highest propensity. If they’re not successful in that timeframe with bullying, academics, extracurriculars, that’s where you lose them. We want to capture kids in that time frame of fifth through eighth grade. It’s a pivotal time for us because I feel like we can make the biggest dividends, the biggest impact especially our culture the way it is. It’s positive. We just went through Capturing Kids Hearts training, which gives the teachers the tools on how to build healthy relationships within the classroom. Sometimes we don’t know that as adults how to foster that relationship in a classroom, so I feel like with that, with the new tools that we’ve been given, with our new culture the way it’s been driven I feel like this is going to be a great year for making sure everybody’s safe, making sure nobody’s bullying, making sure there’s no harassment,” Quintela said. 

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