8th graders place 1st in nation in anti-bullying contest

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PORT CHARLOTTE - The Charlotte County Sheriff's School Resource Officer at Murdock Middle School reports Mrs. Toni Orr’s 8th graders won first place in a national anti-bullying contest for the August to December 2012 competition period.

SRO Deputy First Class Joella Moore said her Respect Our Students (ROS) members at the school took on the task of identifying problems kids face and they picked bullying. DFC Moore was the project coordinator.

To address the issue and improve their community, the SRO students came up with a variety of methods to aide in the reduction of bullying. Through researching effective Anti-Bullying programs, DFC Moore found the Bullying Academy. It’s a web-based interactive program created to help students recognize the dangers of bullying, including cyber-bullying. The program provides lesson plans, videos and testimonials to teach preventative measures to reduce bullying.

According to DFC Moore, “The students take a pre and post-quiz and the data is collected and stored. Schools compete at a state and national level which is easily monitored and student’s individual scores are also monitored for tracking. The curriculum is designed by grade level so the curriculum differs for 6th, 7th and 8th grade students. With the approval of the Charlotte County School Board and funding provided by Drug Free Charlotte County we were able to implement this program. Mrs. Orr, STEM teacher at MMS, agreed to run this program. In order to make this program compatible with Murdock Middle School computer systems, Mrs. Orr spent many hours downloading videos and information from home on her own time. Not only did she do this for her 8th grade class, but also for the 6th and 7th grade classes.”

DFC Moore received a letter from the Bully Academy congratulating Murdock Middle School’s 8th grade students as the 2012-2013 National Champions for the August-December competition. Skyler Hitt, 14, placed second in the nation in the 8th grade class. Mr. Tom Conte’s 6th grade students placed 2nd in the State, and 3rd in the Nation. DFC Moore said, “When Law Enforcement, Schools and Students all work together, we can effectively promote change in our community. I am very proud of the students at Murdock Middle School.”

At an upcoming School Board meeting, Mrs. Orr, Murdock Middle School officials, and the top five 8th grade students will all be recognized in a special presentation. Each of the five students will receive a tee-shirt from the Bullying Academy. The plaque will then be presented Murdock Middle School on behalf of the ROS students who chose the bullying topic.