Six counties across the state are getting ready to join the "It Does Matter" program, that kicked off in Lewis County last year.
Former State Superintendent Jorea Marple came to Lewis County High School last fall to kick off the "It Does Matter" program, designed to make the entire community more aware of the issues caused by bullying, including in-person and online bullying. Lewis County Schools already had its own program in place and it said working with the state was a natural fit.
"Obviously it was something we needed to address, culturally within the school itself, within the community and that type of thing, and it has worked for us," said school administrator L. D. Skarzinski.
Since then, students and staff at Lewis County High School have continued to work together, both within the school and in the county, to raise awareness of the problem. While they've made headway in their own community Principal Time Derico said it's a work in progress that future classes will have to continue.
"It's an ongoing thing. It's not something you can just deal with today and it's gone. It's been in our schools for hundreds or thousands of years. It's just a premise of making everybody aware of it and understand how to deal with it," said Derico.
And that's a challenge that's harder than it sounds. With the makeup of the student body always changing, the job is never done. But Skarzinski said putting those tools in the hands of students will help reduce bullying and relay the message to everyone.
"When you talk to students, and you provide them with opportunities to see an adult, speak to an adult and they know they can trust that adult to help solve that problem and get over the top of that issue, our feedback from the students has been very good," Skarzinski said.
You can find more information on the "It Does Matter" program at the link above.