State Lawmakers To Consider Plan To Fund More Anti-Bullying Programs

Dec 13, 2018

A Eugene non-profit group says its anti-bullying efforts in Lane and Linn County schools could be used as a model statewide. Oregon lawmakers will consider funding an expansion of the program during their next legislative session.

Ophelia’s Place focuses its anti-bullying outreach on students and teachers in sixth, seventh and eighth grades. Their workshops touch on conflict resolution, internet safety and developing classroom peers as allies to stand firm against bullying.

Executive Director Verna Wise Matthews told the Oregon House Education Committee that strong academic programs are only part of what’s needed for students to succeed.

Verna Wise Matthews, the executive director of Ophelia's Place, testifies before the Oregon House Education Committee in Salem.
Credit Oregon Legislature

"If it is the goal for our kids to graduate from high school, to achieve higher test scores, and to become fully engaged in their educational process, it won’t happen if they worry about how they’re being treated at school,” she said.

Wise Matthews testified in favor of a plan to expand anti-bullying programs such as those offered by Ophelia’s Place. She says offering the training in every Oregon school district would cost about $3 million per year.

The proposal received a warm reception from committee chair Rep. Margaret Doherty, D-Tigard. She called it an example of a “using the resources that we have outside the school system in order to help our kids.”

The funding proposal could be added to a larger anti-bullying bill that will be introduced when lawmakers begin their 2019 legislative session next month.

Copyright 2018, KLCC.