WESTON, W.Va.—Hundreds of students in Lewis County rallied alongside the West Virginia Department of Education to launch the bullying prevention campaign called It Does Matter.
West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Jorea Marple on Thursday unveiled the It Does Matter website (www.itdoesmatterwv.com) during a school assembly at Lewis County High School. The event also recognized Lewis County teachers, students and community members who have been supporting anti-bullying efforts.
“Our key message is that It Does Matter what everyone - students, teachers, parents and the entire community - does to stop bullying,” said Marple. “The It Does Matter campaign provides resources and outreach materials for schools to start the conversation about bullying prevention. It is my hope that all West Virginia schools and their communities empower themselves with these useful tools.”
Lewis County is already implementing several anti-bullying efforts and is a perfect fit for this kickoff event.
Lewis County High School is thankful Dr. Marple chose our school for the launch of It Does Matter,” said Lewis County High School Principal Tim Derico. “We believe it is a good message; one our school has been implementing with many of our clubs and organizations such as the Friends of Rachel, Character Education, Teens for Tolerance, Student Council and Honor Society. We hope the new state initiative will enrich our students' overall school experience.”
It Does Matter will reach schools and communities in many ways. What is bullying? What is being done? How do you spot a bully? These are questions answered on the It Does Matter website. For the more socially active, the twitter hashtag, #itdoesmatter is in place for anyone to share an act of kindness or an innovative effort to prevent bullying. Promotional posters and mirror clings are available to schools statewide to remind students and teachers that their voice matters; they can make a positive difference in other’s lives as well as their own.
“I am setting a challenge for every school in West Virginia,” added Marple. “At the end of the 2012 school year, more than 57 thousand incidents of aggressive conduct were reported in our schools. My challenge is that we reduce that number by 10 percent by the end of this school year. That means a decrease of 5700 incidents.”
It Does Matter is a statewide program which seeks to create an open atmosphere about bullying. All members of the community, not just teachers and students must be aware of bullying and how it affects each person. It Does Matter seeks to reach those who are bullied, those who see bullying and even the bullies themselves.
For more information, contact the Office of Communication at (304) 558-2699.