An anti-bullying and character education plan deployed throughout the Brick school district is working, and the numbers prove it, school officials say.
"I think we're moving in the right direction," said Earl Mosley, the district's anti-bullying coordinator. "We just have to keep it up."
Over the course of the first year the anti-bullying program was built into the curriculum, fights were down, Mosley said.
State violence and vandalism data, released to the public in October, showed assaults district-wide dropped from 81 the prior year to 52 last year, and the number of fights dropped from 49 to 26.
So far this year, record keeping by school staff shows fewer incidents than last year.
The work is not done, however, Mosley said. School staff surveyed students about bullying and the effectiveness of character education, and they were candid in their responses.
"Overall, they said we were doing okay, however we're still missing some spots," said Mosley. "There are things that the kids don't tell us, and we have to get better at making ourselves more accessible to the students."
Overall, however, Mosley said students are more open to reporting conflicts to school authorities than ever before.