Bills Ban Bullying, Promote Healthy Foods in Schools

Massachusetts Senate Passes Safe School Package

State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D- Pittsfield) announces action by the Massachusetts Senate today advancing measures that ban bullying and update nutritional standards in schools with a pair of bills aimed at promoting a safe, healthy and productive learning environment for all students.

The Senate’s anti-bullying legislation prohibits physical, verbal and written acts that threaten or cause harm to another student, including Internet “cyber-bullying,” while a separate school nutrition bill establishes new standards for fresh food options in school cafeterias and vending machines.

“These two bills working together will make a dramatic difference in our school environment,” said Downing. “We know there’s a strong connection between health and safety and learning. By striking out fear and improving nutrition, we’re hoping to provide students with a more valuable and rewarding educational experience.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Hilltown Communities Receive Student Awareness of Fire Education Grants

$14K In S.A.F.E. Grants to Promote Student Awareness of Fire Safety

State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D- Pittsfield) announces today that the state Executive Office of Public Safety and Security and the Department of Fire Services have awarded $14,748 in Student Awareness of Fire Education (S.A.F.E.) program grant funds to nine communities throughout his Berkshire, Hampshire and Franklin Senate District.

S.A.F.E. Program is a state initiative to provide resources to local fire departments to conduct fire and life safety education programs in grades K-12. The mission is to enable students to recognize the dangers of fire and more specifically the fire hazards tobacco products pose.

“S.A.F.E. programming ensures our students are alert and aware in situations involving fire,” said Downing. “I am pleased the public safety agencies were able to continue proven fire education programs like S.A.F.E. and maintain ties between local schools and fire departments during these difficult economic times.”

The S.A.F.E. program was established in Fiscal Year 1996 to educate students about the fire and health hazards of smoking-related materials. The S.A.F.E. program is school-based, however funds can be used to implement community fire and life safety education programs outside of school buildings. S.A.F.E. is implemented by firefighters who have special training in teaching fire and life safety.

There are 23 Key Fire Safety Behaviors that should be taught in age and developmentally appropriate ways, such as:

  • Stop, Drop, and Roll
  • Making and Practicing Home Escape Plans
  • Reporting Fires and Emergencies
  • Crawl Low Under Smoke
  • Smoke Detector Maintenance
  • Kitchen Safety
  • Holiday Safety and more

Fire and life safety is easily combined with math, science, language arts, health, and physical education lessons. Integration into the existing curriculum topics is essential.

Benefits of learning these key fire safety behaviors include: Read the rest of this entry »

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