Local school district adds program to prevent bullying and violence

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LUZERNE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Thursday is the first day of classes for students in the Hadley-Luzerne Central School District. Parents who are sending their kids there will perhaps have new peace of mind, knowing they’re enrolled in a curriculum designed to curb school shootings and bullying.

The State of New York mandates that schools have a character enrichment program for grades Kindergarten through 12.

Beecher Baker, Superintendent of Hadley-Luzerne Central School District chose “Choose Love.”

Scarlett Lewis is the founder of the program, and for her, it’s personal. Her 6-year-old son was one of the 20 children killed in the Sandy Hook school shooting.

“Jesse was 6 years old when he was murdered,” Lewis told News10, “but he was full of light and love.”

Lewis has now made it her life’s work to stop the violence that’s on parents’ and students’ minds each day.

“We’re all thinking about it, and the opposite of anxiety is action,” Lewis told News10, “and there’s something we can all do. We can all be a part of this movement to choose love.”

The Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement is a free curriculum that Lewis has taken across countries. It aims to prevent violence at the source through courage, gratitude, forgiveness, and action. According to Lewis, it’s all based on science.

“This is a proactive, preventative approach that actually reduces and prevents not only violence, but substance abuse and trauma,” Lewis said.

Superintendent Beecher Baker says that although this is the first year for the program in his district, he intends to make it a staple there.

“Our staff is very excited about it. They see the need. You talk about a lot of situations and safety concerns we have in our society today,” Baker told News10, “so much of it goes back to mental health and social well being, and this addresses that.”

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