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Helping bystanders become allies at your school

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Aaron Tarnutzer currently serves the community of McFarland, Wisconsin, as the Associate Principal of Indian Mound Middle School.

Facing increasing numbers of discipline referrals, especially among special education, minority, and low socio-economic status students, Aaron played a key role in developing a unique approach to promoting a positive school culture and student social and emotional development called "SOLAR", or "Solution Oriented Learning, Accountability, and Restoration." After earning a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership from Cardinal Stritch University.

Aaron also serves as the the district administrator for PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports) in McFarland and is a Non-violent Crisis Intervention Trainer.

Interview questions:

  1. Research shows that # of incidents of bullying tend to peak during middle school. As an Associate Principal of a middle school, why do you think this is true?
  2. You use the discipline model called SOLAR (solution oriented learning accountability, and restoration). Can you give us some examples of how apply this model to incidents of bullying behavior?
  3. It seems there is an often silent majority of youth who are bystanders to incidents where they know someone is doing something that is not right. How do you help these youth become allies?

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