What’s Your Green Dot?

In 1999, Dr. Dorothy Edwards introduced the Green Dot program at the University of Kentucky after she began seeing bystanders step in to stop “red dot behaviors” such as sexual harassment and assault and verbal and physical abuse. Several student groups at UK realized how big of an issue this was and they worked with Dr. Edwards to implement Green Dot on their campus. 

The program is a bystander intervention program which teaches teachers and students how to safely take action in a situation that could lead to harm. Students are trained to recognize these red dot behaviors, and then to handle them in a safe and appropriate manner through green dot behaviors.

“The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) did a five-year study on the program,”said Mrs. Wendy Turner who brought the program to Dunbar. “They looked at statistics showed that schools that implemented it had a minimum 40% reduction in what they call power based personal violence.” 

This is Green Dot’s first year here at Dunbar. Mrs. Amber Faris, Mrs. Turner and Mrs. Miranda Nesbitt trained this summer in order to bring that back to the school this year. The goal for this program is to help students learn how to take a stand when they see a situation like bullying.

“I want to be a part of Green Dot because i started teaching about six years ago and in the past six years I’ve had so many students write their personal narratives about being bullied or being sexually assaulted and even worse than that I’ve had several students who have chosen to take their own lives and I want to be a part of something that is going to stop that here at Dunbar,” Mrs. Miranda Nesbitt said.

Dunbar is the second school in Fayette County to implement it, the first being Lafayette.

“It is a really important program, and I think that it’s going to make a big difference in our culture and climate,” said Mrs. Turner. “It’s going to help people take care of each other.

There are actions a student can take to become a green dot, but there are also actions that can lead to a red dot. Students in training learn how to use these green dot actions to help prevent the red dots that occur in the school setting.

“Green Dot behavior doesn’t mean that you have to do anything major. It can be as simple as checking in on somebody, seeing how they are, finding out from a friend that you’re concerned about them and turning in those concerns to their parents, a teacher, or a counselor,” said Mrs. Amber Faris. “A red dot behavior is anything that a person says or does that is to harm others. That could be being physically violent, embarrassing someone in front of their friends, or it could be doing something without someone’s consent.”

Students are being taught the three D’s method which means direct, delegate and distract. This is an easy way for students to do what they are comfortable with in the moment and at the same time it doesn’t involve a student to act in a harmful way themselves when trying to stop a red dot situation.

“It could be delegating where you send a concern to someone else if you don’t feel comfortable dealing with it yourself. You can also distract, if you see a potential bullying or sexual harassment situation going on you can go in and distract the person away from the incident,” said Mrs. Faris.

At Dunbar there will be four groups of 30 students each who meet during CCR throughout the year. These students get a more intensive training for a month about being a bystander, how to intervene, and recognizing what their barriers are.

Students who aren’t in one of the groups being trained extra for Green Dot still get to learn what the program is about here at Dunbar. A Green Dot trainer assigned to Dunbar, Jordon Tate, came in and presented a condensed version of the program to students. Even if these students don’t get the extra training they can still take a part in preventing the red dots from happening.

The first group of 30 students selected for the group completed their four week training on September. 26. They have already picked other students that they recognize as a leader to fill their spots. By then end of the year the goal is to have 120 Dunbar students officially trained in the Green Dot program.

“I think if people take Green Dot seriously and really adhere to the Green Dot philosophy we can greatly reduce the amount of power based personal violence at Dunbar,” said senior Hannah Broomhall, who was selected to participate in the first intensive group.

Dunbar’s goal is to reduce the amount of stress on the students who are dealing with these acts of power based personal violence at this school.

“I think Green Dot will be effective because we have a lot of kids who care very much about others and our whole school,”senior Aiiden Robinson said. “In our meetings we are very successful with trying to prevent and what we can do to prevent it. So I feel like if we take what we do in our meetings and put it into school, it will be really successful.”