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Letter to the Editor: STAND Awarded $50,000 Anti-Bullying Grant

The group, otherwise known as Students Supporting Tolerance, Acceptance, uNderstanding and Diversity, will use the five-figure grant to promote its district-wide initiatives, writes STAND adviser Rachel Muster.

 

The Cuyahoga Falls City School District was recently awarded a $50,000 Safe and Drug Free Schools (SDFS) grant by the Ohio Department of Education. The grant, written by myself and Jessica Moore, will be used for district-wide S.T.A.N.D. and school climate programming.

S.T.A.N.D. is an anti-bullying initiative that began at at the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year. The acronym stands for students supporting tolerance, acceptance, understanding, and diversity. The purpose of this club is to improve school climate and promote open-minded, non-judgmental ways of coexisting with others. The goal of S.T.A.N.D. is to foster a school environment in which every student and staff member feels accepted, valued, and celebrated.

STAND was initially developed by myself. I've received steadfast support from the building principal, Anne Alfano and the district's Director of Pupil Services, Dr. Phil Martucci, from the very beginning." 

The Safe and Drug-Free Schools Initiative is a critical part of the national effort to ensure academic success for all students. Effective Safe and Drug Free School grant programs offer activities designed to prevent school violence and drug use. In addition, they create safe, disciplined, and drug-free environments that support student academic achievement. SDFS Sustainability Plus Grant recipients are required to use the SDFS grant dollars to work toward addressing non-academic barriers to learning and produce a positive and supportive school climate.

Grant monies will be used in the Cuyahoga Falls City School district to create and fund S.T.A.N.D. organizations in every building, bring Rachel’s Challenge to the entire district, provide highly qualified professional development for staff, host four community forums, and develop a district-wide peer mentoring program.

This grant is a dream come true for STAND, the Cuyahoga Falls City Schools, and our community. Research suggests that when students feel happy and safe at school, their academic performance, attendance, behavior and test scores improve. When our students thrive, everyone wins.

For additional information, contact Rachael Muster, S.T.A.N.D. adviser at Cuyahoga Falls High School at cf_muster@cfalls.org or 330.926.3808. 

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