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APS site takes proactive approach to bullies

By Hailey Heinz
Journal Staff Writer
          Albuquerque teen Brianna Chavez recently put a face on the problem of school bullying when she appeared on the Maury Povich show to talk about the violence she faced at the hands of bullies.
        Chavez, a student at Los Puentes charter school, shared the story of how her face was cut with a broken bottle and she was pushed into a ditch after a group of bullies told her she was ugly.
        To address those kinds of problems, Albuquerque Public Schools officials have unveiled a website that provides resources for parents and students on dealing with bullying and preventing youth violence.
        "Through this website we are hoping to inform and provide information on bullying and suicide prevention, substance abuse prevention and free or affordable programs and activities for youth," said May Sagbakken, the program manager for the APS Safe Schools/Healthy Students initiative.
        The website, www.abqsafeschools.org, will be updated regularly with information on local, state and national resources to address the problems of bullying, suicide, violence and substance abuse.
        The website was adopted as part of the Safe Schools/Healthy Students initiative that was started about two years ago using federal grant money, said Lynn Pedraza, the director of the APS Health and Wellness Department.
        "The whole goal of the federal grant and the initiative is to reduce youth violence and substance abuse, as well as increase collaboration among community partners to provide better coordinated mental health services and create a safer community for school-age youth," Pedraza said.
        The grant paid for brochures on bullying prevention that were distributed to schools this fall and adoption of curriculum that addresses violence prevention.
       





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