The New Albany-Plain Local School District's goal of improving student culture came into focus during Peace Week April 22-26.
Peace Week, which New Albany High School began 14 years ago in response to the shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., celebrates "peaceful coexistence" at the high school and encourages other schools to stop violence.
Last week, middle and elementary school students walked alongside community members in the second annual anti-bullying walk April 23 and students, faculty and community members heard author Rosalind Wiseman speak about ways to curb bullying April 23 and 24.
"Rosalind Wiseman and other speakers like her are helping us change our student culture," Superintendent April Domine said. "We have to have those hard conversations as adults and students."
Wiseman's message to parents April 23 was: "You have to understand it's difficult and it's not about shielding your children from something."
Wiseman said children are reluctant to ask for help and sometimes need to know it's appropriate to ask an adult to intervene.
Her message to the students and faculty April 24 was similar: Learn to manage conflict and how to deal with incidents that are embarrassing.
Domine said one of the district's goals is to improve student culture, so all students feel safe and included.
"Bullying is in every community and you have to address it on every level, with teachers, with parents and with children," said Carolyn White, one of the sponsors of Wiseman's visit. "We're excited to bring someone in who is well-versed in all these categories."
Wiseman's visit was paid for by a $15,000 grant from the Lance and Carolyn White Fund managed by the New Albany Community Foundation.
Craig Mohre, executive director of the foundation, said the fund includes donations from Lance and Carolyn White, the New Albany Women's Network and the New Albany parent/teacher organizations.
The White family was assisted in fundraising for the event by Ray and Beth Silverstein.