SAFE SCHOOL AMBASSADORS
The Waco ISD Safe School Ambassador Program empowers leaders from the diverse groups and cliques on campus and equips them with nonviolent communication and intervention skills to stop bullying and violence among their peers. Safe School Ambassadros Teams are present on each Waco Middle School and High School campus. Each team is mananaged by a certified teacher who acts as the Team Coordinator. (see bleow)
THE PROBLEM: BULLYING AND VIOLENCE
Despite the best efforts of policymakers and educators, bullying has become a national crisis affecting schools across the U.S. Bullying has become younger, meaner, and more acceptable in youth culture. Young people exposed to bullying and violence are at a higher risk for detrimental health outcomes and low academic achievement. Each day in the U.S. more than 160,000 children stay home from school because they are afraid of being bullied. Nationally, 7,000 high school students drop out per day, and as many as 10% of these students report that it’s because of bullying‐related incidents. According to the U.S. Department of Education, each year as many as 900,000 secondary students are cyber‐bullied by their peers, often with dire consequences.
Student bystanders are a critical and under‐utilized resource for positively impacting the crisis of bullying in our schools. They see, hear, and know things adults don’t, can intervene in ways adults can’t and are often on the scene of an incident before an adult. The Safe School Ambassadors program (SSA) empowers student bystanders to speak up and intervene with their peers in bullying‐related incidents.
HOW THE SAFE SCHOOL AMBASSADORS PROGRAM WORKS:
The program engages the sociallyinfluential leaders of a school’s diverse cliques. These "Alpha" leaders are carefully identified through student and staff surveys. They are selected based upon specific criteria, such as: strong position and influence in their peer group, good communication skills, and a history of standing up for friends. They participate in a two‐day interactive training along with several adults who serve as program mentors. The training gives student Ambassadors the motivation and skills to resolve conflicts, defuse incidents, and support isolated and excluded students. After the training, small Family Group Meetings of Ambassadors are held every few weeks. These meetings, led by the adult mentors called Family Group Leaders, provide time for strengthening skills, support data collection and analysis of Ambassador interventions, and help sustain student and adult commitment to the program.
School School Ambassador Team Coordinators: