The Fayette Citizen-News Page
Wednesday, June 30, 1999
Fayette schools to try violence prevention program

Staff Writer

Second Step, a top-rated violence prevention program, will be introduced in seven Fayette County elementary schools during the 1999-2000 school year.

According to Karen Spangler, director of student services for the schools, Second Step teaches children the skills society used to refer to as good manners, such as impulse control, empathy and anger management.

“Each school participating has identified three or more people to attend summer training,” Spangler said. In turn, these people will return to their schools and train classroom teachers to facilitate the 20- to 40-minute lessons given several times a week throughout the year, Spangler explained.

The program includes parents and non-teaching school personnel such as bus drivers, secretaries and cafeteria workers in its scope of instruction, allowing for continuity in the methods used in dealing with children's behavior. In the classroom, teachers will use puppets, manipulatives and role playing to convey the message that “violence will not be tolerated.”

The schools participating in the program applied for and received grant money from the Georgia Children's Trust Fund Commission. Spangler explained the 25 percent district match will come from the Safe and Drug Free Account. The amount awarded Fayetteville Elementary School, which was the first school in the county to apply, is $7,831 from Children's Trust and $2,610 from the school district.

Comparable grants were awarded to Peachtree City Elementary, Brooks Elementary, Tyrone Elementary, Braelinn Elementary, Kedron Elementary and Peeples Elementary. The total amount received was $33,000.

“This is a research-based program,” Spangler said. Reading from a recent article examining Second Step, Spangler added, “A 1997 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, comparing changes in student behavior at six Second Step schools with those at six scientifically selected control schools, found that physical aggression fell 29 percent and verbal hostility fell 20 percent with Second Step. At the other schools, these behaviors worsened 41 percent and 22 percent respectively.”

Schools in Forsyth County and the Decatur School District have both implemented Second Step programs.

Second Step works on the premise that people prone to violence and aggression lack empathy, impulse control, problem solving and anger management skills. Second Step's curriculum addresses this by teaching, modeling, practicing and reinforcing skills in the areas they are lacking.

For information on Second Step in Georgia, phone the Children's Trust Fund, 404-206-6043 or go to


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