MASSENA — The Massena Central School District will be hosting a virtual presentation Wednesday on bullying and harassment, particularly on social media.
Students will take part in the presentation at 1 p.m., and a parent session will be held at 7 p.m.
The presenter is Keith Deltano, an award-winning teacher, educational comedian and curriculum author. He will be presenting “How to Bully Proof Your Child, Keep Them Safe Online and Monitor Social Media.”
High school Principal Alan C. Oliver said students will observe Mr. Deltano’s presentation and be able to interact with him from their classrooms. Those who plan to attend the 7 p.m. session can register at the Community Schools tab on the district’s website at https://www.mcs.k12.ny.us/.
According to Mr. Deltano’s website, www.dontbullyonline.com, he has performed anti-bullying assemblies for high schools, middle schools and elementary schools throughout the nation. He uses serious comedy to engage students, teachers and parents during his school assemblies, teacher workshops and parent outreach events.
During his presentation, he addresses cyberbullying, physical bullying, racism, exclusion, verbal bullying, gossip, and “the mean girl phenomenon.” When working with older students, he addresses heavier topics like cutting, teen suicide, teen depression, and the importance of seeking help for self-harming behaviors.
When conducting virtual school programs for older students, Mr. Deltano places special emphasis on cyberbullying and social media use. He studies the anti-bullying laws of each state he visits and conveys the content and consequences of those laws in a way the students understand.
“It’s a great opportunity. It’s a timely subject. One of the issues we deal with most at the high school is poor behavior on social media. Anytime we can talk about it, engage families with it and engage students with it, it’s a good thing,” Mr. Oliver said.
In another event, the high school recently participated in the Point Break school intervention program at the Massena Community Center. The program creates an atmosphere of honest communication in which students and faculty work together. Participants move through a variety of high-energy games and small group discussions, encouraging teaching segments and moments of personal reflection, all of which call for honest introspection, with a goal of team-building and creating stronger connections with students and staff.
The program’s website says the goal of the program is to “improve the behaviors, values and attitudes of high school students on their campuses and in their communities, intervening before acts of bullying, hatred or violence occur.”
Mr. Oliver said this was the first time the high school had gone through the program.
“Point Break is really a program that works on communication and environment and cultural issues. Anybody that’s been around the high school and really in the greater Massena community knows that there’s these little conflicts and things that happen within our community, so they happen within our school. Point Break is sort of opening up conversation and fostering free and open conversation, facilitated by some folks that actually do this job,” he said.
He said staff members and students assisted with the program.
Mr. Oliver said Logan Dobbins, the student representative on the board of education, made him aware of Point Break.
“By all accounts, it’s a worthy event to return, which it appears to be. It’s a great thing and it’s very impactful for kids,” he said.