March 1, 2015 at 3:01 pm

Iowa tries again on anti-bullying package

DES MOINES | How best to address bullying incidents in Iowa’s schools is an issue the governor and state lawmakers have wrestled with for three years.

Gov. Terry Branstad has made anti-bullying programs one of his top priorities, and this year, his proposal has received more support than ever. It would train school officials on how to identify and manage bullying incidents, give schools the authority to address online bullying even if it happens off school grounds and create a pilot program in which older students would mentor younger students.

Branstad and other state leaders say they think this year represents the best opportunity to adopt the proposal, yet an early vote on the measure last week in an Iowa Senate committee was supported only by Democrats. The party-line vote was a potential red flag for a measure that was expected to have broad support from both political parties.

Was it just a snag in the lawmaking process, and will this, indeed, be the year that Iowa “stands up to the bully,” as Branstad declared in his Condition of the State address in January?

Or was last week’s vote a warning sign that the attempt to create an anti-bullying law will fizzle out for a third time?

“This is my third time being on the subcommittee (for the anti-bulling bill), so maybe the third time’s the charm,” Rep. Josh Byrnes, R-Osage, said, hopefully.

But ongoing debate among lawmakers about whether schools should have authority to address online incidents, and other issues, remain unresolved, if last week’s vote in the Senate Education Committee is any indication.

INTERNET CHALLENGE

The governor’s proposal gives schools the authority to investigate and address bullying when it occurs online, even if the incident did not occur during school hours or on school grounds.

It is a critical component of any anti-bullying effort, say supporters of the proposal.

“We have to recall that cyberbullying is an entirely new challenge,” said Paul Gausman, the superintendent of the Sioux City Community School District, which has implemented many anti-bullying strategies, some of which inspired pieces of Branstad’s proposal. “We have to recognize that even 10 years ago we didn’t have this particular challenge. A fresh challenge is going to require fresh strategies in order to mitigate that as a part of what we do.”

Gausman said he thinks more than half of all bullying incidents his school district deals with involves online bullying.

“I think that the more the law can do to give us that strength to be able to use any means necessary to discover the depth of the bullying challenge and to respond appropriately to the entirety of the challenge of bullying — which would include, in those cases, the cyberbullying component — would be beneficial to us,” Gausman said.

The off-campus authority provision has not been fully embraced by a pair of advocacy groups: the faith-based Family Leader and the American Civil Liberties Union. One Republican senator last week raised the question of whether it opens schools to civil lawsuits.

Sen. Amy Sinclair, R-Allerton, posed the question to Sen. Rob Hogg, D-Cedar Rapids, who is overseeing the proposal in the Senate.

“I think it’s actually just the opposite of that,” Hogg said. “By saying (school officials) have this permission to act, you actually resolve that in their favor.”

MORE ISSUES

Other disagreements still could derail the effort to pass a state anti-bullying package.

For example, lawmakers and the governor seem to be closer to agreement on how much funding to put into the program — a sticking point in years past — but now some legislators want the programs and the funding mechanism kept separate. Others want the two kept together in the same bill.

Despite the ongoing debate — and that partisan vote last week in the Senate — top lawmakers and the governor himself say the issue remains a priority and continue to express confidence they will reach an agreement.

“This is a first step in the process,” said Senate Minority Leader Bill Dix, R-Shell Rock, the leader of those six senators who voted against the bill last week. “There are a number of improvements to the bill that are being discussed, and I fully expect as that bill is improved moving through the process, there will be very broad support for it.”

Gausman, who has worked with the governor’s office in recent years as the Sioux City schools have become a model for addressing bullying, has followed the legislative process closely.

Gausman said he, too, remains optimistic lawmakers and the governor will deliver this year.

“I’m still comfortable with the progress that’s being made. I’m still optimistic that this legislation will make it through both chambers and to the governor for his signature this year to become law,” Gausman said, before couching that statement. “I know enough about this process and have been engaged enough in this process not to entirely count on any particular result out of a legislative process. It’s just how that system works.”

http://siouxcityjournal.com/news/local/iowa-tries-again-on-anti-bullying-package/article_81a821c8-ef1b-5130-a9fc-4f114c30835e.html

at 9:01 am

Iowa tries again on anti-bullying package

DES MOINES — How best to address bullying incidents in Iowa’s schools is an issue the governor and state lawmakers have wrestled with for three years.

Gov. Terry Branstad has made anti-bullying programs one of his top priorities, and this year, his proposal has received more support than ever. It would train school officials on how to identify and manage bullying incidents, give schools the authority to address online bullying even if it happens off school grounds and create a pilot program in which older students would mentor younger students.

Branstad and other state leaders say they think this year represents the best opportunity to adopt the proposal, yet an early vote on the measure last week in an Iowa Senate committee was supported only by Democrats. The party-line vote was a potential red flag for a measure that was expected to have broad support from both political parties.

Was it just a snag in the lawmaking process, and will this, indeed, be the year that Iowa “stands up to the bully,” as Branstad declared in his Condition of the State address in January?

Or was last week’s vote a warning sign that the attempt to create an anti-bullying law will fizzle out for a third time?

“This is my third time being on the subcommittee (for the anti-bulling bill), so maybe the third time’s the charm,” Rep. Josh Byrnes, R-Osage, said, hopefully.

But ongoing debate among lawmakers about whether schools should have authority to address online incidents, and other issues, remain unresolved, if last week’s vote in the Senate Education Committee is any indication.

Internet challenge

The governor’s proposal gives schools the authority to investigate and address bullying when it occurs online, even if the incident did not occur during school hours or on school grounds.

It is a critical component of any anti-bullying effort, say supporters of the proposal.

“We have to recall that cyberbullying is an entirely new challenge,” said Paul Gausman, the superintendent of the Sioux City Community School District, which has implemented many anti-bullying strategies, some of which inspired pieces of Branstad’s proposal. “We have to recognize that even 10 years ago we didn’t have this particular challenge. A fresh challenge is going to require fresh strategies in order to mitigate that as a part of what we do.”

Gausman said he thinks more than half of all bullying incidents his school district deals with involves online bullying.

“I think that the more the law can do to give us that strength to be able to use any means necessary to discover the depth of the bullying challenge and to respond appropriately to the entirety of the challenge of bullying — which would include, in those cases, the cyberbullying component — would be beneficial to us,” Gausman said.

The off-campus authority provision has not been fully embraced by a pair of advocacy groups: the faith-based Family Leader and the American Civil Liberties Union. One Republican senator last week raised the question of whether it opens schools to civil lawsuits.

Sen. Amy Sinclair, R-Allerton, posed the question to Sen. Rob Hogg, D-Cedar Rapids, who is overseeing the proposal in the Senate.

“I think it’s actually just the opposite of that,” Hogg said. “By saying (school officials) have this permission to act, you actually resolve that in their favor.”

More issues

Other disagreements still could derail the effort to pass a state anti-bullying package.

For example, lawmakers and the governor seem to be closer to agreement on how much funding to put into the program — a sticking point in years past — but now some legislators want the programs and the funding mechanism kept separate. O others want the two kept together in the same bill.

Despite the ongoing debate — and that partisan vote last week in the Senate — top lawmakers and the governor himself say the issue remains a priority and continue to express confidence they will reach an agreement.

“This is a first step in the process,” said Senate Minority Leader Bill Dix, R-Shell Rock, the leader of those six senators who voted against the bill last week. “There are a number of improvements to the bill that are being discussed, and I fully expect as that bill is improved moving through the process, there will be very broad support for it.”

Gausman, who has worked with the governor’s office in recent years as the Sioux City schools have become a model for addressing bullying, has followed the legislative process closely.

Gausman said he, too, remains optimistic lawmakers and the governor will deliver this year.

“I’m still comfortable with the progress that’s being made. I’m still optimistic that this legislation will make it through both chambers and to the governor for his signature this year to become law,” Gausman said, before couching that statement. “I know enough about this process and have been engaged enough in this process not to entirely count on any particular result out of a legislative process. It’s just how that system works.”

http://qctimes.com/news/local/education/iowa-tries-again-on-anti-bullying-package/article_1fb8bb77-9407-56c9-8940-96dbdbef6dfb.html

at 9:00 am

Teachers at popular school ask parents for help: This may sound ‘absurd’ but …

Posted by in School

Post Contributor Badge

This commenter is a Washington Post contributor. Post contributors aren’t staff, but may write articles or columns. In some cases, contributors are sources or experts quoted in a story.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/02/26/teachers-at-popular-school-ask-parents-for-help-this-may-sound-absurd-but-its-true/

at 9:00 am

Make School a Democracy

Posted by in School

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http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/01/opinion/sunday/make-school-a-democracy.html

at 9:00 am

Bleacher brawl at Northside school injures administrator and stops game

Posted by in School

A Washington Township school administrator was injured in a fight that broke out between two adults and escalated into a brawl Thursday night near the end of a girls basketball game at Westlane Middle School.

Ken Cox, the school’s assistant principal and athletic director, was injured while trying to break up the fight at the school on Indianapolis’ Northside, Principal Linda Lawrence said in an update sent to parents of the school.

The extent of Cox’s injuries is not known, but Lawrence said he was treated at the hospital and released.

The fight broke out during the eighth-grade county championship game between Westlane and Creston middle schools, according to a news release from the Metropolitan School District of Washington Township. A witness said it escalated into a brawl that involved more than three dozen people on the basketball court.

“With the eighth grade team leading by 14 points and about 4:00 minutes left in the game, a physical altercation broke out between adults in the bleachers. Westlane students were not seated near the altercation and remained in their section of the bleachers,” Lawrence said in her note to parents.

Jeff Roberts, who was watching the game with his wife, said the fight started about 50 feet from where he was sitting and immediately spilled out onto the court. At least 40 people got involved, he said, holding and pushing each other.

The game was stopped because of the fight, the school district said.

“There was so much chaos, it’s so hard to tell who got involved,” Roberts said. “It was pretty disappointing to have parents attending a game to see someone behave like that in front of children.”

Roberts said the fight lasted about two to three minutes. He said he watched an injured man being taken from the court and into a side room.

Brian Clouse, head of security at Westlane Middle School, said officials are conducting an internal investigation.

“The behavior of the adult spectators involved in this altercation (is) unacceptable and Washington Township will remain fully cooperative with law enforcement throughout their investigation,” according to a statement from the district.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police also investigated the brawl.

Two officers who were sent to the school Thursday night left after 10 minutes, said Lt. Richard Riddle, spokesman for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. No reports were filed and no arrests were made.

But by the time police arrived a few minutes after the fight broke out, people had already scattered and left, Roberts said.

Lawrence, the school principal, tried to reassure parents in her voice mail and note.

“I apologize for this incident. Please know your child’s safety is utmost in my mind all of the time,” Lawrence said in the note to parents.

Star reporter Jill Disis contributed to this story.

Call Star reporter Kristine Guerra at (317) 444-6209. Follow her on Twitter: @kristine_guerra.

http://www.indystar.com/story/news/2015/02/27/impd-investigating-brawl-adults-middle-school-game/24133015/

at 3:01 am

NP schools stand up against bullying

Posted: Saturday, February 28, 2015 3:00 am

NP schools stand up against bullying

By Ralph CHapoco
ralph.chapoco@nptelegraph.com

nptelegraph.com

School can be difficult, particularly for those who feel constantly threatened by their peers.

Administrators at North Platte Public Schools have tools in place to handle such situations, provided they know about them.

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      Saturday, February 28, 2015 3:00 am.

      http://www.nptelegraph.com/news/local_news/np-schools-stand-up-against-bullying/article_9b779e43-29ae-591b-8ad8-c3728381d964.html

      at 3:00 am

      NC mother believes bullying led to transgender teen’s suicide

      UNION COUNTY, N.C. — A North Carolina mother believes bullying led to her transgender teenager’s suicide, according to WSOC.

      16-year-old Ashlyn Haffner's mother says bullying led to her suicide. (WSOC)

      16-year-old Ashlyn Haffner’s mother says bullying led to her child’s suicide. (WSOC)

      Ashlyn Haffner’s mother went back to the road where her child died, near their Indian Trail home Thursday night.

      April Quick placed flowers and a balloon where she found her 16-year-old child’s body. An accident report said Ash stepped into the path of an oncoming vehicle.

      “I didn’t want to believe it was her,” Ash’s mother cried, while staring down at the memorial. “I just held her and told her I loved her until the ambulance came.”

      Quick said Ash’s suicide was the result of years of bullying, which became worse when Ash decided to transition from female to male and be referred to using the pronoun “he.”

      Read full story: WSOC

      http://myfox8.com/2015/02/28/nc-mother-believes-bullying-led-to-transgender-teen-daughters-suicide/

      February 28, 2015 at 9:00 pm

      Bullying is more than innocent teasing

      As some Hoosiers observe today’s International Stand Up to Bullying Day, a recent survey finds the majority of adults believe bullying is more prevalent than ever.

      The poll was released by the Tyler Clementi Foundation, which promotes safe, inclusive and respectful social environments. Its executive director, Sean Kosofsky, said bullying is more than innocent teasing because it can leave emotional scars for years to come.

      “For generations, people saw bullying as a right of passage, but things are getting far more severe in terms of the lasting impact of online bullying,” he said. “These things don’t go away now. It also doesn’t stop at the school door.”

      While there is increased awareness, Kosofsky said, bullying still is viewed as a “not in my backyard” problem, with just 12 percent of respondents saying it is a serious problem for youths in their own county.

      The poll also found most parents are conflicted when it comes to teaching children how to appropriately respond to bullying, with just half of respondents saying children should notify an adult. Kosofsky said men were much more likely to recommend direct confrontation than were women.

      “We are a big believer in being upstanders,” he said. “When people are bystanders and they see something happening wrong, they should do something, but we don’t necessarily advise doing something unsafe.”

      Bullying is not just a schoolyard problem. Kosofsky said half of those polled have experienced or witnessed bullying on the job.

      “It really is a pattern of power and aggression that occurs to basically influence your own authority over someone,” he said, “and it’s really disruptive to learning, and to workers. “

      International Stand Up to Bullying Day encourages people to make a pledge to take a visible, public stance against bullying.

      http://www.nuvo.net/indianapolis/bullying-is-more-than-innocent-teasing/Content?oid=3051425

      at 9:00 pm

      ​High school principal calls Twitter bullies "pathetic cowards"

      WINCHENDON, Mass. - The principal of a Massachusetts high school is furious over hate-filled messages on a Twitter account.

      Murdock High School Principal Joshua Romano tells CBS Boston he could have chosen his words more carefully, but he is standing by what he said.

      at 9:00 pm

      Lighting company CEO Ellis Yan accused in lawsuit of reckless business …

      Ellis Yan, the CEO and Chairman of the Board of Technical Consumer Products, Inc., of Aurora. 

      CLEVELAND, Ohio — A lawyer for one of the country’s leading LED light bulb  manufacturers on Thursday sued her boss, CEO Ellis Yan, and her Aurora-based employer, Technical Consumer Products.

      In the lawsuit, attorney Laura Hauser accused Yan, 60, of Chagrin Falls, of physically assaulting her, of threatening and bullying her, of damaging the value of the company for stockholders, and of unethical and reckless business practices. She filed the 17-page lawsuit in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.

      In its defense, the company acknowledged the suit on its web site Friday, stating “TCP is currently in the process of evaluating these claims and intends to vigorously defend itself.”

      TCP was a privately-owned company when Hauser was hired in May 2013, with Yan and his family as the majority owners. In June 2014, TCP went public, raising $73 million through an initial public offering of stock on the New York Stock Exchange.

      TCP’s stock plummeted 57 percent on Friday, bottoming out at $2.74 a share. The stock was initially offered at $11 a share when the company went public.

      In the lawsuit, Hauser accused Yan of having an explosive temper, of being a bully and abusing employees. His cruel demeanor continued to escalate after the company went public, and his ethics policy “created significant risk to shareholder value,” Hauser said in the lawsuit.

      Hauser recounted a September 2014 meeting with The Home Depot’s lighting division buyer, Jeff Epstein, who demanded $4 million from TCP for failing to properly remit funds from its utility rebate programs.

      TCP initially rejected the request, maintaining the company had properly executed its rebate program. But Yan acquiesced to Home Depot’s demands, Hauser said.

      Yan later agreed to a buyback and markdown of TCP products from Home Depot at a cost of about $1.8 million, “without any rational justification,” Hauser said.

      Hauser also alleged that, in August, TCP’s Chinese LED bulb manufacturer produced 40,000 bulbs mistakenly stamped with Underwriters Laboratory symbols. The bulbs were not in compliance and later failed to pass UL testing standards, Hauser said.

      UL is a voluntary agency that establishes consumer product safety standards, testing and analytics for the lighting marketplace. UL certification is a crucial part of TCP’s products, and most of its customers require UL certification, Hauser said.

      Yan addressed the problem, Hauser said, telling TCP’s compliance manager and LED product manager not to talk about the UL certification issue, but to focus instead “on the numbers.” Yan ordered the mislabeled products released into the market, and if the compliance team failed to follow his orders he would “fire them all,” Hauser said.

      Hauser said she brought her concerns about product safety to the attention of the Audit Committee of TCP’s Board of Directors, which hired an attorney from the Jones Day firm to assist in the investigation.

      Last month, Hauser said she provided a 15-page memorandum dealing with Yan’s management and performance. The memo was not included in the lawsuit.

      The lawsuit said the Audit Committee returned an eight-point report, finding in part that Yan had kept financial information from TCP’s CFO; not followed proper processes for commercial price changes; failed to consult with executive managers; bypassed UL supplier certification processes; was antagonistic and disrespectful to employees; and imposed extreme and unrealistic performance demands on employees.

      The Audit Committee concluded that Yan must change “promptly and substantially,” and presented the report to Yan at a meeting Feb. 3.

      Later that night, Hauser said Yan called her at her home in Cleveland Heights. She said he chastised her for her role in the audit, and she accused him of issuing a threat: “You will be sorry.”

      Hauser said she was “terrified,” and reported the incident to police. She said she has continued to work from home, but with difficulty. She has been stripped of the majority of her job responsibilities, and only goes into the office when Yan is out of the country, according to the lawsuit.

      Hauser’s lawsuit accuses Yan of causing her emotional distress and financial harm, and of threatening her with physical harm. The lawsuit said Yan physically assaulted her in October, 2013. She seeks in excess of $25,000.

      Andy Kabat, who is representing Hauser, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

      http://www.cleveland.com/court-justice/index.ssf/2015/02/lighting_company_ceo_accused_i.html

      at 9:00 pm

      Lawsuit settled over allegation bullying of gay students

      Communities

      Diamondhead police commander dies after heart attack

      http://www.sunherald.com/2015/02/25/6089837/lawsuit-settled-over-allegation.html

      at 9:00 pm

      Moss Point settles lawsuit alleging anti-LGBT bullying

      Communities

      Diamondhead police commander dies after heart attack

      http://www.sunherald.com/2015/02/25/6091010/moss-point-settles-lawsuit-alleging.html

      at 3:01 pm

      Top Rocky swimmer pulled from state after bullying allegations


      A top Rocky swimmer won’t be able to compete at state this weekend after district leaders decided not to let him. Allegations of hazing essentially ended his season early.

      Late this week, district administrators decided not to let him compete as they investigate claims that he and three other swimmers hazed a teammate over the past two months.  All four swimmers were initially punished. They’re not allowed to say how, but a subsequent investigation sparked when parent Kristen Kessler addressed the school board this week.

      “Swimmers physically held my son against his will and sucked a hickey on his neck and touched him inappropriately,” said Kessler at the school board meeting.

      This triggered the administration to punish Josh Fleming for the second time. Fleming admits he’d been involved in incidents in the past. Back in November he claims horseplay, not hazing, brought about a first punishment.

      “I think the punishment is very extreme,” said Fleming.

      Fleming claims he had nothing to do with the recent allegations of bullying and hazing. He says he was out of the building when his teammate was held down and given a hickey. He also says he was just present when his teammate allegedly had his head shaved against his will.

      “I didn’t see it right and when I found out, I just didn’t want be apart of the team anymore so I walked out,” said swimmer Alex Jackson.

      While not suspended, fellow swimmers, Jackson and John Mager opted out of the state meet this weekend to support Fleming.

      “I feel like it was blown out of context,” said Mager.

      Fleming says him and the victim have never had problems with each other and still don’t. He also added the victim asked for a haircut and wasn’t forced to have his head shaved. The district is currently reviewing several of it’s bullying policies and working to merge them together this spring.

      http://wqad.com/2015/02/27/top-rocky-swimmer-pulled-from-state-after-bullying-allegations/

      at 3:01 pm

      In ‘Tyler’s Suite,’ voices unite against bullying

      When Jane Clementi’s son Tyler went off to Rutgers University in fall 2010 and began playing violin for a school orchestra composed primarily of upperclassmen and graduate students, she thought the skill he had been perfecting since age 3 — even teaching himself how to play while unicycling — had paid off.

      But days later, 18-year-old Tyler jumped to his death off the George Washington Bridge. His roommate had set up a webcam, viewed him being intimate with another man and through Twitter invited others to watch.

      lRelated The world as seen by Beaumarchais through a character named Figaro
      ARTS CULTUREThe world as seen by Beaumarchais through a character named FigaroSee all related

      The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles will further that work in a concert Saturday titled “Heartstrings” at the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles. The performance will include the Southern California premiere of “Tyler’s Suite,” a suite of eight songs about Tyler’s life written by the likes of Stephen Schwartz (“Wicked”), John Corigliano (the opera “The Ghosts of Versailles”), Jake Heggie (the opera “Dead Man Walking”) and singer-songwriter Ann Hampton Callaway. Violin is woven through the songs.

      “We wanted to provide a window into who this person was,” said Chris Verdugo, executive director of the Gay Men’s Chorus. “We hope that this special concert will honor the memory of Tyler Clementi and emphasize the continued need for a dialogue about the damage bullying causes across the country.”

      In addition to “Tyler’s Suite,” the concert will feature Well-Strung — violinists Edmund Bagnell and Christopher Marchant, violist Trevor Wadleigh and cellist Daniel Shevlin — performing its mix of pop and classics and the chorus, conducted by Joe Nadeau, singing such songs as “No One Is Alone” from “Into the Woods.”

      Members of Tyler’s family, including his mother, will attend the event. They worked closely with lyricist Pamela Stewart on “Tyler’s Suite” to ensure the songs reflect their feelings of both nostalgia and grief.

      One movement, “Just a Boy,” adapts a poem that Tyler’s father, Joseph Clementi, wrote after Tyler’s death: “He was just a boy. He was my son. The last of three, my youngest one. He could make me laugh and sometimes cry. Now he’s left me here to wonder why.”

      “I Love You More” recalls a childhood game between Tyler and his mom in which the response to “I love you” was always “I love you more.”

      Jane Clementi said in an interview that commemorating her son through music “just makes sense.”

      “Music meant so much to Tyler,” she said. Through this music, the audience “will get to love him. Each movement shows the multifacetedness of him.”

      It conveys a life beyond what landed in the headlines.

      Tyler’s roommate, Dharun Ravi, was convicted of invasion of privacy and bias intimidation and sentenced to 30 days in jail, three years’ probation, 300 hours of community service and a $10,000 fine. The tragedy started a national conversation about bullying that continues nearly five years after Tyler’s death.

      Tyler’s parents founded the Tyler Clementi Foundation in an effort to “end all online and offline bullying,” Jane Clementi said.

      “I hope it will trigger a resolve that no one else will ever have to struggle [like Tyler],” she said. “Stop bullying online and offline. Create a safe space.”

      Jane Clementi wants events like the concert Saturday to bring the message home: Stop being bystanders and pledge to be upstanders, “someone who will speak up in a bullying or intimidation or humiliation situation,” she said.

      “If one of those witnesses had spoken out for Tyler, I think the end result would’ve been very, very different.”

      ————

      ‘Heartstrings’

      Who: Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles and Well-Strung

      When: 8 p.m. Saturday

      Where: First Congregational Church of Los Angeles, 540 S. Commonwealth Ave., Los Angeles

      Admission: $35-$100

      Info: www.gmcla.org/concerts/heartstrings

      Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times

      http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/la-et-cm-tylers-suite-20150228-story.html

      at 3:01 pm

      Mother believes bullying led to transgender teen’s suicide

      It was practically unbearable for any parent to endure, but on Friday the mother of Ashlyn Haffner, who went by Ash, went back to the road where her child took her own life, near their Indian Trail home Thursday night.

      April Quick placed flowers and a balloon where she found her 16-year-old child’s body. An accident report said Ash stepped into the path of an oncoming vehicle.   
       
      “I didn’t want to believe it was her,” Ash’s mother cried, while staring down at the memorial.  “I just held her and told her I loved her until the ambulance came.”
       
      Quick said Ash’s suicide was the result of years of bullying, which became worse when Ash decided she wanted to transition from female to male and be referred to using the pronoun “he.”
       
      “Ash had been so strong for years,” said Quick.  “Ash started enduring the most bullying when she cut her hair short.”
       
      Ash committed suicide in the same way Ohio transgender teen Leelah Alcorn did just months ago. Alcorn was born Joshua Alcorn.  In a suicide note posted online, Alcorn pleaded, “fix society.” 
       
      Quick said firmly that she supported Ash’s decision.  She showed Channel 9 a picture taken of her and Ash together at Charlotte Pride this past summer.
       
      But the acceptance reportedly didn’t come full circle.  Quick said she found a suicide note on Ash’s IPAD that read in part;
       
      “Please be WHO YOU ARE… Do it for yourself. Do it for your happiness. That’s what matters in YOUR life.  You don’t need approval on who you are.  Don’t let people or society change who you are just because they’re not satisfied with your image.”
       
      Friends of Ash tried to echo that message during a memorial service Friday night outside Porter Ridge High School, where Ash was a student. A large group circled the school rock, which was painted with a rainbow in honor of Ash.  Family and friends lit candles, shared memories of the teen and pleaded for acceptance of all people.
       
      Posts by friends and classmates on social media sites such as Twitter and Instagram also said the teen was a victim of bullying.
       
      During the memorial service, the school’s principal said the district is fully cooperating with investigators as they dig deeper into Ash’s death.  The principal told Channel 9 he was limited in what he could say about potential bullying at that point in time. 
       
      Channel 9 contacted the Union County sheriff, who confirmed the department is investigating the case as a suicide.
       
      A memorial service will be held for Ash on Sunday at 3 p.m. at Heritage Funeral Home in Indian Trail.

      In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Time Out Youth, 2320 N. Davidson St., Charlotte, NC 28205 or phone 704-344-8335.

      Read more top trending stories on wsoctv.com:

      http://www.wsoctv.com/news/news/local/mother-says-bullying-led-daughters-suicide/nkLLr/

      at 8:59 am

      Bye Bye Bullies! Bullying is down around the Tri-Cities

      TRI-CITIES, Wash. –There are fewer kids being suspended for bullying in Tri-Cities schools.

      One school district has really stepped up its game in the effort to prevent bullying.

      Jacob Liniger is a fifth grader who volunteers for a group called the “Bullinators.” They help identify and stop bullying at school.

      “I became a bullinator because I thought it’d be cool to help people cause I once got bullied at my own school,” said Jacob.

      He said a classmate used to try and knock him off the jungle gym.

      “I didn’t like it at all, so that kind of made me uncomfortable,” said Jacob.

      It’s why Jacob and other Ruth Livingston students have made it a priority to put a stop to bullying.

      Now these bullinators are all in 4th and 5th grade, but for recess they go to the primary playground which has kindergarten through 2nd graders, and they keep an eye out for kids who may be going through a hard time or having a hard time socializing.

      “I think it’s important, because some kids just don’t like to be bullied and some of them can’t stand up for themselves because they’re too shy or nervous to see what happens,” said Bullinator Lily Vela.

      This could be part of the reason Pasco has seen a major drop in bullying for the school year ending in 2014. There were 64 suspensions that year, compared to 103 the year before.

      “I think they really try to address it head on, so we’re not trying to look over it, we’re not trying to sweep it under the rug,” said school counselor Kelly Longsvorff.

      For the same time period, bullying dropped 73% in Kennewick. For the current school year, the district started an anti-bullying campaign.

      Students are encouraged to report harassment, even anonymously.

      Richland had just a slight uptick in bullying incidents. The district also has programs in place to identify and stop bullying.

      “If you see bullying, make sure you don’t just be the bystander that doesn’t do anything. Be the one to step up and stop it,” said Jacob

      The Pasco School District says it is also working to address bullying online, which is where some of the harassment among older kids had moved to.

      http://www.keprtv.com/news/local/Bye-Bye-Bullies-Bullying-is-down-around-the-Tri-Cities-294458271.html

      at 8:59 am

      Schools fight against bullying with lessons of kindness, compassion

      Paul Fennewald knows he’s not the first person parents turn to when fear and frustration mount over bullying in school.

      Likely the parents fretted with teachers, called on a principal, the superintendent, maybe even board members before they came across his telephone line at the Missouri Center for Educational Safety.

      But he gets calls.

      “They’re at their wit’s end,” he said. “They don’t know what to do.”

      He knows what many parents know, and what startled residents and angry lawmakers are learning in the wake of the news that 12-year-old Blake Kitchen was assaulted in his Liberty Middle School lunchroom and hospitalized.

      “It’s a big problem,” Fennewald said. “And there’s no simple solution.”

      Should there be laws compelling school systems to have anti-bullying policies and programs?

      Both Missouri and Kansas have laws.

      The school boards associations in both states provide recommended policies regarding bullying and hazing, regularly reworked to adjust to new trends like cyberbullying. All area districts and public charter schools surveyed by The Star have policies, including Liberty.

      Should there be school and community anti-bullying campaigns?

      Most every student in area schools and their parents have probably absorbed some combination of assemblies, workshops, brochures, banners and other anti-bullying strategies listed by districts in the survey.

      Teachers, staff and bus drivers are trained to build relationships and awareness.

      Children are taught to be empowered, to seek help, to give aid and not be bystanders.

      And the research that schools compile in surveys such as through the Communities That Care or the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) networks show their efforts are helping students feel safer.

      But most every student and parent will assure you that many children still behave like bullies, and many are still bullied and scared.

      “It happens daily, and a lot of it is subtle,” said Tim Lewis, a professor of special education at the University of Missouri who is one of the originators of the PBIS safe-school strategies. “Catching it at the early stages is difficult. It’s pervasive, and it vexes and challenges.”

      Time was that schools were inclined to assume students know the right behavior and focus their bullying prevention on punishing the bully, Lewis said.

      But the programs schools are using today do not assume students know the right actions to take, he said. They teach what respect looks like. They teach kindness and compassion.

      Schools train their staffs to watch for children struggling, either as potential perpetrators or victims, and build an environment of support where children are more comfortable sharing their concerns.

      Some districts, including Kansas City, Raytown, Independence, North Kansas City, Hickman Mills, Belton and Excelsior Springs, are using PBIS as part of their efforts.

      Park Hill, Blue Springs and Lone Jack are among those using the Olweus bullying prevention program created by Norwegian psychology professor Dan Olweus.

      Olathe, Center and Kearney are taking on Rachel’s Challenge, inspired by the writings of one of the first victims in the Columbine shootings in 1999.

      Surveys suggest that intense efforts will improve school climates and reduce some telltale signs like office referrals, parent calls and absenteeism, but schools can’t easily quantify the violence they prevent.

      They know when they fail.

      Liberty has anti-bullying efforts at work as well. Staff are trained to build relationships so children feel connected to adults they can go to when they are troubled, Superintendent Jeremy Tucker said.

      The district, like several in the Northland, has a Text-a-Tip service through law enforcement’s Crime Stoppers to make anonymous reports. Schools have anonymous hotlines.

      A sixth-grade program with the Liberty Police Department aims to help new middle school students make safe choices.

      But now Blake, a sixth-grader, is recovering at home after suffering severe head injuries that put him in Children’s Mercy Hospital.

      The district is cooperating with police and aiding in the investigation of the eighth-grade student accused of the assault, Tucker said.

      “Our concern is with the well-being and recovery of Blake … and making sure he transitions well back into the classroom,” Tucker said.

      Bullying is a community issue and the struggles in the schools resonate into homes, educators throughout the area said.

      Olathe took its program discussions into community groups to look at comprehensive efforts, Assistant Superintendent Erin Dugan said.

      “We want more students reporting,” she said. “We want to be transparent in the community and communicate more with parents.”

      Kansas school districts are frequently calling on legal staff at the Kansas Association of School Boards to help guide their anti-bullying campaigns, association attorney Angela Stallbaumer said.

      The rural Midway School District in Cass County last fall invited parents to visit with a panel of professionals including juvenile officers, a social worker, mental health counselor and others in building a community safety net.

      “This is a topic where we never think we’ve got it covered,” Midway Superintendent Gordon Myers said.

      Tucker described such wider, holistic support as one of the priorities determined by its school board this year.

      “The well-being of our learners,” he said, depends a lot on how well communities “support the emotional, psychological and mental health needs of them and their families.”

      To reach Joe Robertson, call 816-234-4789 or send email to jrobertson@kcstar.com.

      http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/article11375108.html

      at 8:59 am

      Bullying data released; school district implements revamped policies

      YAKIMA, Wash. — Bullying has moved from a face-to-face threat to a less obvious one. It’s often now online, and just as harmful.

      “Somebody took a picture, they’re like, ‘Ew, she looks ugly,’ or ‘Why would you wear that?’ or ‘That’s disgusting, like, who does that?’ Just negative things about people,” said Davis High School Junior Arianna Pedroza.

      Christian Aguilera attends Davis High School. He says the kind of bullying he sees between boys tends to surround peer pressure.

      “Because they want you to do things and if you don’t do them, they’ll out-cast you; they’ll not want to hang,” said Davis High School Sophomore Christian Aguilera.

      During the last complete school year, Yakima Schools suspended 160 students and expelled ten for bullying — that’s down about a quarter from the previous school year.

      Students say just because fewer are being punished, doesn’t mean bullying is gone. It’s just gone elsewhere.

      “Back in the day, I feel like it was more physical. Now it’s more verbal, or mental,” said Pedroza.

      After being found in violation civil rights laws for bullying and harassment, the Yakima School District revamped its policies. Spokesperson Amy Neal says they’ve now created a formal investigation and action form so staff know what to do if a bullying or harassment complaint is filed.

      “It really is all about the child and making sure that bullying is addressed in a formal way, in a serious way,” said Neal.

      The feds are keeping tabs on the way Yakima responds. Even with administrators keeping a closer watch, students don’t believe every incident will be reported.

      “It’s kind of hard to talk to kids because they don’t want to tell on their friends or any of that stuff,” said Aguilera.

      http://www.kimatv.com/news/local/School-district-looks-to-revamp-bullying-pol-294462391.html

      at 2:59 am

      Worldwide Stand Up to Bullying Day

      In a World Health Organization survey, Lithuana reported the highest rates of bullying with 30 percent of 11-year-olds and 50 percent of 15-year-olds reporting being bullied at least two or three times a month.

      The U.S. is about average of the 35 countries studied, with 10 percent of 11-year-olds and 20 percent of 15-year-olds.

      Local students see it firsthand.

      “It’s a really huge problem. I just see all of my friends, some of my friends, are suffering from it. It’s just sad to see them heartbroken, just because some kids said some mean things to them,” said Jada Tran, an eighth grader at Horizon Middle School.

      “Bullying, again, is a very growing problem and it’s very serious and it’s hurting kids all over the world and it needs to be resolved,” said Sutter Colborn, an eighth grader at Horizon Middle School.

      30 percent of young people in the U.S. admit to bullying others.

      http://www.wdaz.com/news/3688681-worldwide-stand-bullying-day

      at 2:59 am

      Worldwide Stand Up to Bullying Day

      In a World Health Organization survey, Lithuana reported the highest rates of bullying with 30 percent of 11-year-olds and 50 percent of 15-year-olds reporting being bullied at least two or three times a month.

      The U.S. is about average of the 35 countries studied, with 10 percent of 11-year-olds and 20 percent of 15-year-olds.

      Local students see it firsthand.

      “It’s a really huge problem. I just see all of my friends, some of my friends, are suffering from it. It’s just sad to see them heartbroken, just because some kids said some mean things to them,” said Jada Tran, an eighth grader at Horizon Middle School.

      “Bullying, again, is a very growing problem and it’s very serious and it’s hurting kids all over the world and it needs to be resolved,” said Sutter Colborn, an eighth grader at Horizon Middle School.

      30 percent of young people in the U.S. admit to bullying others.

      http://www.wdaz.com/news/3688681-worldwide-stand-bullying-day