CHOP’s PRAISE program brings the anti-bullying fight to Philly schools

Every year, 90,000 kids go the emergency room for assaults suffered on school grounds. Now, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is doing something about it right here in Philly. 

Actually, they’ve been at it since 2010, when CHOP began debuting its Preventing Relational Aggression In Schools Everyday program. Called PRAISE for short, CHOP’s program aims to reduce confrontations in area schools—most recently the Childs Elementary School in Point Breeze.

In use at various schools in South Philly, the PRAISE program involves two weekly sessions with CHOP psychologists. In each session, the psychologists leads the class through an anti-bullying curriculum  by employing educational elements like posters and snappy acronyms, like CIA—Cool It Before Action. PRAISE has been in operation in South Philly since last September. 

“Last year, we had the entire fourth grade sign bullying contracts because we had such issues,” Childs principal Eileen Coutts told Newsworks in a recent interview. This year, however, there have been virtually no disciplinary problems from the school’s fourth- and fifth-grade students.

“What we’re trying to accomplish is really to empower students to make good choices in tough situations,” PRAISE psychologist Stephen Leff told Newsworks.

That empowerment comes primarily through learning—both social and emotional. That process will continue for the next three years, through which PRAISE has been funded.