Don Best advocates for the S.A.F.E. program during the Sevier County Board of Education Meeting. (The Herald/Joe King)

Because of its increasingly damaging effects in the age of technology, school systems are looking for new ways to prevent bullying.

The advent of social media sites and an ease of access to self-broadcasting has made the effect of bullying all the more damaging and created a new form of abuse, cyber bullying.

In an effort to combat this destructive behavior, the Sevier County Board of Education has voted to adopt and new program called S.A.F.E.

S.A.F.E., which stands for Safety Awareness for Everyone, is designed to focus on bullying recognition and response.

“We must train people to recognize bullying,” said Jim Wade the Assistant Super attendant of Personnel for Sevier County Schools.

The training for the S.A.F.E. program will be conducted Aug. 9. For each school, team members will include the counselor, the senior resource officer, and the school administrator.

In addition to recognition and response, the training will also focus on cyber bullying, and awareness and prevention of youth suicide.

“I don’t know of anybody who has played a sport and who hasn’t been bullied,” Wade said. “It has almost become a rite of passage in our society, but that doesn’t make it right.”

Don Best, Coordinator of School Health, presented the S.A.F.E. program to the Board of Education.

Best believes through education and awareness S.A.F.E. can help to prevent most bullying.

“With the instant communication now available the effects of bullying can be overwhelming,” Wade said. “We want to lessen those effects.”

The Board voted to accept the program.

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