Collier County Sheriff’s Office Cpl. Sandra Sprenger has been named the recipient of the School Advocacy Safety Council’s 2014 National Exemplary Bullying Prevention Award.
Cpl. Sprenger, a Youth Relations Bureau deputy assigned to Pine Ridge Middle School, is the creator of a powerful anti-bullying initiative. The message includes compelling information about the consequences of physical and verbal bullying, and also the consequences of the growing epidemic of cyber bullying. Her bullying message has been adapted by other Youth Relations Deputies and is part of the CCSO’s response to youth-on-youth bullying.
In addition to sharing her presentation with Pine Ridge Middle students, she makes anti-bullying presentations to parent groups and community organizations. She has also been interviewed about bullying in the local media.
Cpl. Sprenger also monitors social media outlets for bullying threats and incidents. She responds to those threats immediately, contacting the involved students and their parents to bring about a swift and safe resolution to each situation.
In addition, Cpl. Sprenger has shared her anti-bullying message in agency-produced public service announcements that are aired on the morning announcements at school and shared with the local media. She also has attended two anti-bullying conferences and delivered an anti-bullying presentation to the 2012 Florida DARE Officers Association Conference.
Cpl. Sprenger has also been instrumental in promoting the DNTH8 text-messaging line to report bullying. CCSO and Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers and Collier County Public Schools partnered to create the line in 2012 to provide students with a convenient and anonymous way to report bullying using their cell phones.
It was an incident several years ago that sparked Cpl. Sprenger’s passion for putting a stop to bullying. One morning a middle-school student was caught with a knife in his possession on the bus ride to school. When Cpl. Sprenger asked why he had the weapon, the tearful boy explained that he had endured months of bullying and, “just wanted it to stop.”
Cpl. Sprenger will be presented with the award at the School Safety Advocacy Council’s National Conference on Bullying in Orlando in late February.