APSO/AP Schools launch “Don’t Stand By; Stand Up!” Campaign

Gonzales, La. — Today, the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office and Ascension Public Schools launched a collaborative initiative to address acts of unkindness and conflict in schools. The “Don’t Stand By; Stand Up!” campaign focuses on the role of the bystander during acts of conflict and bullying.

“The goal of this kindness campaign is to reach the 23,000 students attending Ascension Public Schools on a personal level and empower them to stand up for their classmates,” said Ascension Public Schools Superintendent David Alexander. “This is just one component of several activities that take place year-round at our schools. Teachers and staff are trained in conflict resolution and de-escalation. With this campaign, we hope to work with our law enforcement partners to engage students as part of the solution.”

Primary school poster“We are excited about our continued partnership with Ascension Public Schools to bring yet another positive campaign to our students to combat bullying,” said Ascension Parish Sheriff Bobby Webre. “Bullying, in all forms, is something that we take very seriously. We plan to continue playing a large role in helping educate children and adults about the problems resulting from bullying and ways to prevent and intervene in bullying incidents. We can work together to prevent and address bullying by serving as role models, educating, listening to our students, encouraging them and strengthening students who may have been bullied. We want to empower bystanders to act, and help those who bully others to behave appropriately and kindly.”

Prior to the creation and launch of this campaign, a committee of employees from both the Sheriff’s Office and Ascension Public Schools conducted student focus groups at the primary, middle, and high school levels in order to evaluate student knowledge of bullying and how best to address it.

The members of the committee included Allison B. Hudson and Lt. Coy Daigle with the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office, Linda Lamendola and Josette Guillory with the Student Services Office of Ascension Public Schools, Jackie Tisdell and Danielle Evans with the Public Information Office, Latatia Johnson, Supervisor of Federal Programs and Primary Schools support partner, Amy Dunn, a Primary Schools Instructional Supervisor, Jamie Williams, a Middle Schools Instructional Supervisor, and Karen Buratt, a High Schools Instructional Supervisor.

The student focus groups drove the creation of a multi-layered approach. Elements of the campaign include:

  • Assemblies at primary schools with the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office featuring a skit with McGruff the Crime Dog;
  • Wristbands that says, “Don’t Stand By; Stand Up!” for all kindergarten through fifth grade students;
  • Grade level-specific posters placed throughout schools;
  • Grade level-specific screensavers on all student devices;
  • video written by a student and performed by high school students to be played at all middle and high schools; and
  • Diversity training for select teachers and students from all four high schools, Early College Option and APPLe Digital Academy.

high school poster“At the high school level, our focus is on training and creating action plans that create the kind of climate that fosters a sense of community and belonging. In the Spring, student leaders and adult advisors received in-depth diversity and leadership training by participating in experiential learning activities that taught students about student diversity and how those differences can sometimes bring about bullying,” said Director of Secondary Schools Mia Edwards. “The training allowed the teams time to create action plans to implement once they went back to their campuses, and I am so excited to say that I have seen many activities happening on our high school campuses that are a direct result of this training.”

The centerpiece of the campaign is a powerful video written by the 2019 Ascension Parish Student of the Year Reace Dedon and filmed in Spring 2019 with the following high school students and staff:

  • Kailyn Borne, St. Amant High School
  • Reace Dedon, St. Amant High School
  • Mia Edwards, Director of Secondary Schools
  • L’Nysia Johnson, Donaldsonville High School
  • Rayna Jones, Donaldsonville High School
  • Datjuan Harris, Donaldsonville High School
  • Camille LeGrange, East Ascension High School
  • Carson Lewis, East Ascension High School
  • Caitlyn Little, Public Information Office College Intern
  • Gabby Martinez, East Ascension High School
  • Kristin Maum, Donaldsonville High School teacher
  • Adrienne Nance, Dutchtown High School
  • Jospeh Overstreet, Dutchtown High School
  • Kane Scott, East Ascension High School
  • Ma’Kaylnn Simon, Donaldsonville High School

“From the perspective of a student in the Ascension Parish School System, this campaign has the power to shape how children view one another. Similarly, it can change attitudes towards education, as feeling accepted and valued can drastically change one’s appreciation for learning within the classroom. Being kind is simple, and it is achievable,” said Dutchtown High School Senior Courtney Hughes. “With the motto ‘Don’t Stand By; Stand Up!’ we are encouraging youth to support their peers and foster positive relationships. The kindness campaign will teach our students the value of another life, stopping potential bullying before it can even occur.”

For more information about the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office, visit www.ascensionsheriff.com/. For more information about Ascension Public Schools, visit www.apsb.org/.