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Dr. Michael J. Martirano, Superintendent of Schools, 301-475-5511, ext. 178
Mr. J. Bradley Clements, Chief Operating Officer, 301-475-4256, ext. 7

LEONARDTOWN, MD – St. Mary’s County Public Schools (SMCPS) has joined with St. Mary’s County Commission for Women, the College of Southern Maryland, Kristin Mitchell Foundation, and Walden Sierra Group to provide educational awareness on building positive and healthy relationships in SMCPS high schools.

“This has been a wonderful partnership initiated over one year ago that truly exemplifies community involvement and support for the safety of our children,” said Superintendent Dr. Michael J. Martirano. “St. Mary’s County Public Schools has and will continue to make bullying prevention in our schools a top priority and this effort directly addresses high-risk behaviors facing many of our high school students. Safe and secure learning environments provide the best opportunity for our students to learn.”

"Bullying has no place in our society and we must all work together to ensure that our youth are not being harmed by it,” said CSM President Dr. Brad Gottfried. “The College of Southern Maryland, through its Cause Theater, seeks to identify and portray pertinent social issues such as abusive relationships, date violence, alcoholism and school violence, as a way of addressing these serious issues of today. I am grateful to our Theater Director, Keith Hight, for doing such a fine job in this area. This is another example of how CSM is reaching out to our school district partners to work together in educating the youth of our region."

The CSM Cause Theatre will perform the one-act drama, “don’t u luv me,” during student assemblies at each high school March 13 through 15. The drama focuses on the use of social media, dating violence and the value of building positive and healthy relationships.

Social media and unhealthy relationships can serve as a source for school-based bullying in our secondary schools, according to Mr. Michael Wyant, Director of Safety and Security for SMCPS. Social media sites accessible through the internet have and will continue to play major roles in this area as our students are exposed to volumes of information that can be both positive and negative.

School counselors and staff from the Walden Sierra Group will be present to provide support to students as needed. Following the production at each school, published copies of the drama will be made available to all SMCPS ninth-grade English classes to read and review as a formal assignment.

          The dates and times for the assemblies are as follows:

          March 13 at Chopticon High School at 8:15 and 9:30 a.m.

          March 14 at Great Mills High School at 8 and 9:15 a.m.

          March 15 at Leonardtown High School at 8 and 9:15 a.m.

A community presentation of ‘don’t u luv me” will take place beginning at 6 p.m., March 15 at Leonardtown High School in the auditorium. This presentation will be open to parents, guardians, school staff and interested community members.

Funding for this initiative has been provided in part by the Board of County Commissioners for St. Mary’s County and a grant award to SMCPS received from the Kristin Mitchell Foundation.