From The Desk of Becky Hansard
Silverdale Baptist Academy
Dear Silverdale Family,
I trust that you and your family enjoyed the Christmas season together. It was so good to see all of our students return to school Monday after many were away on JTerm adventures last week. I believe this JTerm was one of the best ever at Silverdale!
I am sure that you have been as heartbroken as I have been over the incident at one of our local high schools concerning a student being injured during what has been called a bully/hazing act. We understand that this type of behavior is not isolated to one school in our county. It is, rather, a cultural problem. The questions being asked begin with answers in the home first of all, and then in the greater community, church, and schools. We cannot turn a blind eye to the suffering this incident has created.
Our approach to this issue is two-fold: proactive and reactive. Our first response is educational. For the past eight years, we have been using a curriculum called “The Protectors”, written by Paul Coughlin, a best-selling author and speaker, who tackles the problem of bullying head on. He is a friend of the Academy and came here several years ago to shoot a segment for the 700 Club. Paul has appeared on Good Morning America, Nightline, and C-Span, and is a Fox News analyst and contributor. He works with numerous professional organizations to diminish bullying, including the Baltimore Ravens. Silverdale students use his curriculum from kindergarten through high school in a variety of forms. Unlike traditional anti-bullying efforts that focus primarily upon reforming children who bully and which are historically ineffective, “The Protectors” focuses primarily upon the potential strength, heroic desire, and rescuing capacity of Bystanders, transforming them into what we call “Alongside Standers.”
As a means to promote community healing and offer further training in this area, we contacted Paul about the possibility of returning to Chattanooga to address our community and work with our community’s students, parents, faculty, school counselors, and youth pastors. From his home in Oregon, Paul was already aware of the incident. He enthusiastically agreed to come to Chattanooga from January 31, 2016 through February 3, 2016. This is an unplanned expense for the Academy, but we felt that God was guiding us and Paul to put together a series of meetings to help train our community in how to deal in the arena of bullying. Believing that where God guides, He provides, we are busy setting up the schedule of meetings for the event we are calling the “Courageous Community Conference.”
As a bit of positive news, you, our families, have contributed over $2,100 that will be given directly to the family of the victim that was injured to assist with needed expenses. Praise the Lord! Your giving spirit never ceases to amaze me. I challenge you to share this upcoming conference with everyone here in our community. If you’re on social media, please share our Facebook event and help publicize this opportunity for our community to begin the healing process. I encourage you and your family to register for our Community Night on Sunday, January 31st by visiting www.silverdaleba.org/ccc, and to help promote our other focused sessions in the days to follow. Paul will be addressing youth and children’s ministry workers, school counselors, and school leadership personnel.
Please be in prayer for these community meetings and the media that will be used to publicize this ministry opportunity. Our prayer is that Silverdale will always be used in our community to further the Kingdom of God and promote healing.
Head of SchoolSilverdale Baptist Academy