Return to Headlines

How Jackson students are putting safety first #theNEISDway

group shot of students

Empowering students to create positive change on campus.

That’s the goal of Jackson Middle School’s Safe School Ambassador Program. 

The program was created by Community Matters and is a student-centered approach to preventing and reducing bullying. It teaches students how to handle difficult situations and to speak up when they witness an issue that might need to be handled by an adult.

Recently, around 30 student leaders took part in training to learn how to de-escalate situations and influence their peers to be better friends. Part of the training had the students offer issues they’ve seen or dealt with. They then roleplayed the situation to show each other different ways to handle situations for a more positive outcome. They also learned how to build confidence in their friends who may need a boost.

“I believe I was chosen for something big,” said eighth-grader De’Mariyon Taylor. “I like to help people, and I like my school to be safe. We can be the teachers’ eyes and ears to catch things the teachers can’t catch. I feel we can make a big change to Jackson Middle School.”

Taylor is a leader on the basketball team, but the students chosen for Safe School Ambassadors come from all parts of campus and walks of life.

“We have students from band, orchestra, athletics, NJHS and PALS,” said Jackson Family Specialist and Safe School Ambassador Sponsor Zelvia Castillo. “We have students from all socioeconomic backgrounds, as well as refugees, students receiving special education services, and GT students. They are students chosen from various social groups so they can influence their group of peers.”

Twice a month, the newly-equipped ambassadors meet for a “family meal” during lunch to talk about issues they’ve dealt with or ask for advice on handling particular situations. The meal also gives them a chance to talk about things they’ve noticed that might need to be addressed by a teacher or administrator. 

“I often learn things during those meals that need to be addressed. We’ve stopped certain situations without a doubt,” said Castillo. “These are kids that influence other students. Kids listen to them. Because they are the ones hearing everything, and they are the ones other kids will listen to. It’s pretty cool to watch them grow.”

These students know if you see something, you should say something.

They also know it takes all of us to be #NEISDsafe

The North East Tip Line ( gives you a safe and confidential way to report a wide variety of safety concerns. 

You can also call the NEPD non-emergency line at 210-407-0925.

More information is available online at

Posted by: Evan Henson
posted on: 11/16/2022