School Smarts: Give your kids the confidence they need to succeed

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - Vanessa Brown-Lewis is the leader of the Buccaneers. She's the award-winning principal at West Jefferson High School.

When it comes to bullying, here's what she tells her students: "Listen the rat code doesn't work. There's no such thing as a snitch, there's no such thing as a rat. So if something is going on and it makes you feel uncomfortable you need to say something to somebody."

Parents should reinforce that message at home. Another way parents can help is by making sure that their kids know the names of the school leaders: the principal, the nurse, the social worker, the coaches, etc.

Talk to your kids and make sure they feel comfortable with at least one authority figure at the school, that way they will be more likely to report something when necessary.

At R. K. Smith Middle School, students are taught "The Essential Eight" life lessons.

"Essential number one of the Essential Eight is stated every morning on the announcements and that essential is: If any child in this school is bullying you or making you feel uncomfortable, make sure you let an adult know immediately," explains Principal Harold Blood.

If your child is acting strangely at home, this could be a sign that there's a problem at school.

"Sometimes they withdraw from stuff that they love," says West Jefferson High School Principal Vanessa Brown-Lewis.

Talk to your kids about the difference between teasing and bullying and reinforce the Golden Rule.

More advice from Principal Blood, "Don't ever let anybody stop you from what you want to achieve. You look them in the eye and you tell them: Don't judge my story by the chapter you walked in on... because I got somewhere to go."

One more reminder for parents: the best way to teach your children respect for others is to be a role model. Kids mimic their parents, especially at a young age.

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