Safe School Ambassadors changing the school climate


Senior, Felipe Mora

Story by Angelika Ziemecki, Staff Writer

The Safe School Ambassadors (SSA) program has been implemented at our school this year with the goal of teaching students skills to prevent and reduce the bullying that happens in many schools.

The group consists of one adult mentor and many other students that have been selected as ambassadors who want to make a change on campus. These students have to go through a two-day training, along with the adult mentors. In this training, the students learn and develop many tactics and skills to help prevent situations where bullying might occur. This includes learning about different ways to stop fights from happening and to engage students who do not have many friends in their social circles.

One of the mentors for the Boca High SSA club is English teacher Gerry Ackert. Mr. Ackert’s main job in this role is to keep the students motivated on their journey to becoming true leaders. 

One of my roles as a mentor was to identify students who would fit the criteria and to have them attend a one-day training, in which they were taught several very specific strategies to use when they saw these types of mistreatment occurring on campus,” said Gerry Ackert. “On an ongoing basis, we then meet to record and discuss occasions when the ambassadors intervened, keeping track of the kinds of issues that students are struggling with. The other faculty mentors, which include Ms. Gennaro, Ms. Lederberg, Mr. Hinton, Ms.Escobar, and Mr. Hernandez; all  provide ongoing support and guidance to the ambassadors during our follow-up meetings.”                                    

This program is an important addition to our school. It helps keep a positive environment on campus, as well as helps other students keep conflict out of their lives so they can focus more on education. 

“While I feel that we do have a mostly positive and supportive campus culture, mistreatment of others, in many ways, has become an acceptable social norm: roasting culture, social media harassment,” said Ackert. “It is so easy to be kind to someone, and I think that the more we make that the social norm, the better all of our lives will be.” 

Senior Felipe Mora is one of the select students that was chosen to participate in the program. These student leaders develop themselves as better people while also improving their communication skills.

“This project impacted me as a person by learning to be a better listener,” said Mora. “I used to think my way of helping was good, but SSA truly prepares you to aid those students that need a friend to talk to.”

This program is very essential to the students involved that are just like Mora. The change that it is providing around the school is extensive

 “This project unifies the student population as not having individual interest groups but rather combining them as one,” said Mora. “It also opens the perspective of more students to comprehend that they are not alone and that the issue you are going through someone else is going through it too. All you need to do is want the help and we will help you.”