UHV helps school district with anti-bullying initiatives

Anitra Shelton-Quinn
  • For more informationAnyone who wants more information about Village Builders or UHV students interested in participating in the project may contact Anitra Shelton-Quinn at sheltonquinna@uhv.edu or Trina Gordon at gordont@uhv.edu.

University of Houston-Victoria researchers and staff are working with the Victoria school district and community to help curb student bullying.

"Bullying doesn't just happen in schools. It happens at the mall; it happens at the bus stop. It's a very real national and community issue with very negative outcomes," said Anitra Shelton-Quinn, an assistant professor and the school psychology program director in the UHV School of Arts & Sciences.

Shelton-Quinn and UHV assistant professor Trina Gordon, director of the School of Arts & Sciences counseling psychology program, began partnering with the Victoria school district last spring to develop Village Builders, an anti-bullying program that initially will be implemented in the district's four middle schools.

The two - along with Lawrence Rossow, dean of the UHV School of Education & Human Development, and Lawrence Nelson, UHV multimedia specialist - are part of a community Anti-Bullying Task Force established by Superintendent Bob Moore.

Shelton-Quinn and Gordon initially focused on the extent of bullying in the district's middle schools and are presenting information about Village Builders at Stroman Middle School on Jan. 27.

The survey last spring of 1,100 students from Crain and Howell middle schools showed that bullying is not necessarily starting in local schools, but is continuing there, she said.

Bullying also is taking place in schools in the form of sexual harassment.

In addition, students reported that they are more comfortable reporting bullying incidents to their parents than their teachers.

The second phase of Village Builders will start in the spring and will include scheduling classroom and parent meetings about bullying and peer relations.

"Students and their parents may not even be aware of what bullying is and how it affects people," she said.

The third phase of Village Builders is expected to start in late spring or early fall. At that point, interventions will take place between bullies, parents and victims.

"This whole program is based on the premise that it takes a village to raise a child," Shelton-Quinn said. "It's not just the responsibility of teachers and principals to make sure bullying isn't going on. It's everybody's responsibility to make sure we have bully-free zones."