September 17, 2014 at 1:06 am

Tuscaloosa County Schools update policy to combat bullying

BRAVE or Building Responsibility Acceptance through Voice Empowerment, is an anti-harassment/anti-bullying program that calls for students, parents, educators and the community to work together to eliminate bullying.

“What we want to do is give students a voice and make them part of the process to empower them to create change,” said Greg Hurst, coordinator of student services for the county schools. “This program is designed to include parents, students, faculty, staff and the community because that’s the only way that we’ll be able to reduce it, eliminate it.”

Hurst said the school system is encouraging parents to get involved by signing anti-harassment forms and by looking for signs that their children are being bullied or are bullying others.

The community can get involved in the program by speaking to students about bullying, coming to school open houses and taking part in community discussions about bullying.

At schools, Hurst said the issue is being tackled in several ways.

The first step is training students to report bullying when they see or encounter it. But to do that, they need to know exactly what bullying is.

“There’s a misconception on what bullying is,” Hurst said. “Bullying is a continuous pattern of intentional behavior that takes place on school property, on a bus or at a school function. And the key word is continuous and intentional. If it happens one time, it could be perceived as bullying, but we look at that as discipline.”

Hurst said the consequences for a student committing a one-time offense against another student and a student continuously bullying another student, however, are the same. But if the bullying continues after the student has been disciplined, it could lead to law enforcement getting involved, according to the rules in the student code of conduct

“If it continues — harassment or otherwise — the parent has the option to contact the school resource officer because it could become criminal,” he said. “We only try to contact the SRO if it’s a criminal act. If the school has done their part and it’s consistent, we may have to get the SRO involved, but that’s the last option. We don’t want them to get involved in an issue that the school can handle.”

Once an incident has been reported, school administrators have 24 hours to investigate it. During the investigation, the principal of the school where the alleged bullying took place will interview the student who was bullied and the alleged bully.

Then both students will have an opportunity to provide witnesses and share their sides of the story with the principal.

If the investigation determines that bullying took place, discipline will follow.

In addition to training students to report bullying, school staff will watch for bullying too, especially if it frequently occurs.

“There’s bullying hot spots, which are the bus area, the gym, PE, the hallways, classrooms, locker rooms, lunch rooms, parking lots and extracurricular activities,” Hurst said. “What the schools do is pay major attention to these areas. There are cameras in the hallways, on the bus, in the cafeterias and in the lunchroom. We’re going to have administrators whose jobs are to monitor.”

Hurst said they’re also asking each school to conduct a monthly anti-bullying program. They can come with their own ideas because bullying looks different at each school, especially at different grade levels.

“Schools may want to discuss what is bullying, how to report it, possibly take part in National Bullying Awareness Month in October, or some schools may have guess speakers and conduct surveys for students asking them questions like ‘have you ever been bullied?’ ” he said.

According to a report on BRAVE, documenting everything that takes place will be a critical component to the program’s success.

Hurst said overall, their ultimate goal is to have safe schools where students can learn, feel good about themselves, have good behavior and attendance.

Reach Jamon Smith at jamon.smith@tuscaloosanews.com or 205-722-0204.

http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20140915/NEWS/140919705/1007?Title=Tuscaloosa-County-Schools-update-policy-to-combat-bullying

at 1:06 am

CPS Finds ‘No Credible Evidence of Bullying’ in Suicide at Peirce School

McKenzie Phlipot, 12, committed suicide last year. Her family said a culture of bullying at Peirce Elementary School might have led to her death, but CPS officials said Tuesday that there was no evidence that was the case.

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ANDERSONVILLE — CPS found “no credible evidence” 12-year-old Mckenzie Phlipot was bullied at Peirce Elementary School before she committed suicide in May.

In a statement issued Tuesday evening, CPS spokesman Bill McCaffrey said the district investigated but could not confirm that bullying contributed to her death.

“As many of you are aware, last school year, the Peirce community suffered an unfortunate tragedy when one student took her own life,” We have expressed our deepest condolences to the family and undoubtedly this tragedy may continue to impact our students this year.”

The statement continued: “After the incident, there were some public allegations that bullying at school may have contributed. As a result, CPS officials conducted an investigation, and there was no credible evidence of bullying.”

Ben Woodard spoke to members of Mckenzie Phlipot’s family:

But the girl’s grandmother, Judy Phlipot, said she doesn’t agree with the conclusion of the district’s investigation, which began in June after the girl’s parents said school officials should have done more to help their daughter.

“I do not agree with that at all,” Phlipot said Tuesday.

Travis Phlipot, the girl’s father who lives out of state, said Tuesday evening that he had not heard from the district regarding the results of its investigation.

“They haven’t contacted us yet,” he said. He declined to immediately comment on the report’s findings.

The district was hosting a meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday to speak with parents about the results of the investigation.

“Chicago Public Schools is serious about providing safe learning environments for its students and does not tolerate acts of bullying,” McCaffrey said. “We work with students so they know how to identify and respond to incidents of bullying directed at themselves or at fellow schoolmates, and all employees are required to intervene in and report any instances of bullying.”

Before she took her life, Mckenzie Phlipot complained on social media about being bullied at school.

In one post to her Instagram account in December, she wrote, “Like if u hate bullies.” A few months later, she wrote, “Look! All the bullies at my school need to stop talking.” On the photo, one commenter seemed to defend the practice, saying, “Every body bullies u.”

Then, on May 4, four days before Mckenzie’s death, she made a final post to her Instagram account.

“If I died, would you cry?” read the text. “Would you wonder if I was happy? Would I be on your mind? Would you ever speak my name again? Would you come to my funeral? Would you miss me? Would you think of me? Would you remember all our inside jokes, the memories we created, even if they weren’t that serious?

“Would your heart drop to your stomach when you found out that it was suicide?”

A flyer distributed by Mckenzie’s parents after she died said the girl had even ended up in the emergency room after the bullying.

Some of her friends said in interviews that they worried about her because of the bullying.

The school at 1423 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. enrolls 1,022 students in prekindergarten through eighth grade.

For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here:

http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20140916/andersonville/cps-finds-no-credible-evidence-of-bullying-suicide-at-peirce-school

at 1:06 am

Attorney: More parents coming forward about bullying after Seminole teen’s suicide


SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. –

The attorney representing the family of the 14-year-old who committed suicide at a Seminole County School last week says more parents are coming forward saying their children have been bullied at the same school and they got no help from administrators.

Matt Morgan represents Lamar Hawkins’ parents, who believe their son committed suicide because he was bullied at Greenwood Lakes Middle School in Lake Mary.  The family says they reported the bullying to the school, but little was done to stop it.

Michael Carr says all three of his children went to Greenwood Lakes Middle School and all were bullied.

“This is a major ongoing problem,” Carr said.  “They have a major safety issue there. They just can not protect the children.”

Carr says he went to administrators but the bullying continued.

Morgan says other parents with children at Greenwood Lakes and other schools in Seminole County are telling him similar stories.

A spokesperson for the district says they have numerous anti-bullying programs in place.  The superintendent of Seminole County Schools said in a statement after the Hawkins came forward that bullying is not tolerated in any of the district’s schools.

The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office has not said Hawkins suicide was related to bullying.  Detective are still investigating.

Morgan says his firm is conducting a full investigation and they want to give the district time to respond before the decide whether to file a lawsuit against the district.

http://www.clickorlando.com/news/attorney-more-parents-coming-forward-about-bullying-after-seminole-teens-suicide/28089356

September 16, 2014 at 7:05 pm

Mom says bullying led to son’s suicide at Seminole Co. school

The mother of a 14-year-old Seminole County boy believes he took his life because of the tormenting he endured by bullies.

Lamar Hawkins was found dead in a Greenwood Lakes Middle School bathroom last Wednesday. Authorities said he used his father’s gun to shoot himself.

Just days after his death, Lamar Hawkins’ parents and extended family held a news conference to share their heartbreaking story, with the hope that it will bring change and prevent future tragedies.

“We were aware ‘Shaq’ was struggling with bullies at school for many years but he never led us to believe he was thinking of taking his life,” his mother said, tearfully.

The family used to live in New York and the teen was bullied there. So, the family moved to Florida, but the bullying continued, said Shaniqua Hawkins.

“I would watch him walk out the home and know that children would be cruel to him,” Hawkins said.

“I believe he took his life at school to send a message to bullies.”

She tried to tell Lamar’s school about the severity of the bullying but she believes it fell on deaf ears.

“We went to the school numerous times over the years to voice our objections,” she said. “I felt paralyzed by the feeling to not be able to make the bullying stop at school.”

The Seminole County Public Schools Superintended Walt Griffin issued a statement Monday after the Hawkins’ news conference:

“This is a very tragic circumstance and our hearts and prayers remain with the family during this difficult time. We are aware the family held a press conference this morning and allegations of bullying were discussed. The School Board has a comprehensive bullying policy that is fully enforced in all of our schools,” he said.

“We must remind everyone that this is an ongoing law enforcement investigation and Seminole County Public Schools has cooperated fully from the beginning as the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office works diligently to gather the facts surrounding this tragedy,” Griffin added.

“The school district remains firmly committed to assisting the family, our students, faculty and staff with support as they continue to grieve and heal. Additional counselors are in place at the school and will remain for as long as necessary,” Griffin said.

Hawkins said her son had health complications early in life which slowed down his growth. But he had a big heart.

Hawkins said she lost another baby three weeks ago, and now she’s lost her older son to suicide.

“There are no words to describe the depth of our suffering,” she said.

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 1-800-273-TALK to speak with a counselor.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.

http://www.wfla.com/story/26531617/family-of-seminole-suicide-victim-to-speak-out

at 7:05 pm

Fake ALS ice bucket challenge in Bay Village puts focus on bullying: editorial – The Plain Dealer

Bullies today can taunt and haunt and hurt their prey in ways unimaginable before the advent of social media and anonymous Internet use.

The ability to humiliate and hate from the sanctuary of cyberspace came into focus locally this month with the discovery of a cellphone video posted on Instagram that depicts a 15-year-old Bay Village High School student getting showered with a bucket of urine and spit.

An ongoing police investigation has identified five Bay Village minors allegedly involved in the malodorous “prank,” as Bay Village Superintendent Clint Kenner described the incident on the district’s website last week.

As rumors and lawyers muddy the details, what we know is that the video provides us with a reminder of why humiliation is not humorous. The only laughs are coming from those behind the camera.

Time for a refresher course — and a refresher on the refresher: Humiliating a fellow human being and effectively assaulting someone with human waste is not a prank and could be criminal. And amplifying that humiliation and possible crime using social media raises the stakes exponentially for both victim and victimizer.

The educational system, parents and guardians all must play critical roles in conveying those lessons. Yet the Golden Rule and strict supervision — as history has taught us — won’t prevent bullies.

And today, too much of what happens on social media can effectively be hidden from parents’ and teachers’ views. Too much of what passes for schoolyard “fun” happens not in the schoolyard but in virtual space shared by coteries of other teens.

At the same time, schools – particularly middle schools – offer the perfect structured environment to inculcate a culture of tolerance and inclusion for all races and sexual orientations, one that transcends physical appearance, athletic ability and scholarship.

Teachers need to be attuned to signs of trouble outside the classroom — and inside school walls. Schools need to teach and reach out to parents and guardians as well about the responsibilities — and risks — of pre-teens and teenagers on the Internet.

But to effect positive change, schools also need involved community partners. They need parents, guardians and peer-group mentors outside the classroom to set standards of appropriate behavior and use of social media.

The most effective weapon in the battle against bullies, though, is self-esteem.

Build self-esteem and you don’t just give kids the strength they need to protect themselves, you also prevent troubled youth from becoming bullies in the first place.

That doesn’t mean you have to go all “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” on them, but kids — like adults — respond much more positively to kindness than to criticism, to help rather than hectoring, to praise rather than punishment.

“Sometimes a teachable moment is unplanned,” Kenner noted on the Bay Village school district website.

Let’s take advantage of it.

http://www.cleveland.com/opinion/index.ssf/2014/09/fake_als_ice_bucket_challenge.html

at 7:05 pm

Paterson school district pushing for more complete bullying reports

PATERSON — Records show that the number of confirmed bullying incidents in city public schools increased by more than double during the second half of the 2013-14 academic year, rising from 83 to 187.

But education officials see that jump as a good thing, the result they say of improved training and reporting systems implemented as part of the district’s effort to comply with the statewide anti-bullying law.

“It shows that we’re taking the law seriously and that each individual allegation is taken seriously,” said Theodore “TJ” Best, coordinator of the district’s anti-bullying program.

But the district still has much improvement to make in complying with the law, according to the evaluations of each city school’s anti-bullying program. None of Paterson’s more than 50 schools achieved the state-designated perfect score of 78 on the assessments. In fact, about 80 percent of Paterson’s schools had scores that were lower than 60.

The district is holding a public hearing on the school-by-school bullying scores on Wednesday night at 7 pm a Kennedy High School’s auditorium.

Best, a former city school board member who now serves as a Passaic County freeholder, said the Paterson district has made strides in its anti-bullying program, particularly by implementing an electronic reporting system in March that allows students and parents to report alleged incidents themselves without having through a teacher, principal or other staff member.

Best said the district also provided training on the state’s bullying law to all school staff during the first half of last year. After the training, he said, the number of reported incidents increased.

District reports show that there were 181 reports of bullying from Sept. 2013 through Jan. 2014 and that 83 of those cases were confirmed. From Feb. 2014 through June 2014, those numbers jumped to 355 reported cases and 187 confirmed.

In 2011, by comparison, there were 86 reports of bullying in the district between from July through December and just 21 were confirmed.
Rosie Grant, director of the Paterson Education Fund advocacy group, welcomed the rise in the district’s reporting of bullying cases. “It’s good to have all the incidents reported,” said Grant, “because you can’t fix it if you don’t know it’s happening.”

A school-by-school analysis of the bullying statistic reveals some inconsistencies in the way the issue seems to be handled at various schools in the city. For example, School 5 had 48 bullying reports last year and 39 of them were confirmed. In comparison, School 6 had just four bullying reports and one confirmed.

Also, the three academies at Eastside High School had just 14 bullying reports and two confirmed. Best said the district has worked at getting more accurate numbers at Eastside. In the past, he said, an altercation that started with bullying would simply have been characterized as a fight. Now, he said, schools officials are digging deeper to determine if the cause of the fight stemmed from bullying.

Best said the first week of school has produced changes in the handling of bullying cases at Eastside, with three incidents reported already.

http://www.northjersey.com/news/paterson-school-district-pushing-for-more-complete-bullying-reports-1.1088986

at 7:05 pm

Armour® Announces New Partnership with STOMP Out Bullying™

Posted by in Cyber Bullying

LISLE, Ill., Sept. 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Just in time for the new school year, Armour, the makers of LunchMakers and BreakfastMakers, is joining forces with STOMP Out Bullying, the leading national bullying and cyberbullying prevention organization for kids and teens in the United States.  The partnership is designed to help combat and increase awareness for a problem that has increased in severity in recent years with one in four young people being bullied, according to the CDC.

Armour(R) Announces New Partnership with STOMP Out Bullying(TM)

Armour will help stand-up against the issue through its partnership, which includes a $75,000 donation to STOMP Out Bullying and driving awareness via specially-marked packages of top-selling Armour LunchMakers and BreakfastMakers varieties, in-store signage and social media.

In addition, Armour and STOMP Out Bullying will host a Pep Rally at Albert Leonard Middle School in New Rochelle, N.Y. on October 6, which is Blue Shirt Day® World Day of Bullying Prevention, to educate students on bullying and cyberbullying prevention and will include a special celebrity guest appearance by television host and actor, Mario Lopez.   

“We are excited to partner with STOMP Out Bullying, and to reach out to the millions of kids and adults who love Armour LunchMakers and BreakfastMakers to get them involved too,” said Chuck Gitkin, vice president, marketing, innovation and RD for the John Morrell Food Group.  “Our nation’s children, parents and schools have many important topics to address daily, with bullying being a high priority.  We want to do what we can to support anti-bullying and anti-cyberbullying.”

STOMP Out Bullying was formed in 2005 with a mission to reduce and prevent bullying, cyberbullying, sexting and other digital abuse, educate against homophobia, racism, and hatred, decrease school absenteeism, and deter violence in schools, online, and in communities across the country.  With prevention partners such as Armour, the organization is able to spread its reach and important messages to those who need it most.

“Armour will help us to continue to spread the cause of STOMP Out Bullying,” said Ross Ellis, the organization’s founder and CEO.  “Bullying transcends all demographic groups.  But so does bullying prevention.  No matter who you are or where you are from, you can take a stand and help end this epidemic that is devastating our young people.  We’re pleased that Armour is taking such a stand by joining us to build awareness and educate students and the public about all forms of bullying.  The company’s financial commitment will also allow us to reach more children and parents about this issue.”

For more information on Armour and its LunchMakers and BreakfastMakers products please visit, www.lunchmakers.com or www.facebook.com/ArmourMeats

About Armour
With America’s favorite frozen meatballs, LunchMakers and BreakfastMakers portable meal kits, and pepperoni products, Armour is proud to be a trusted brand that provides convenient, delicious and affordable meal options for smart, sensible families since 1867.

About John Morrell Food Group 
With over a century and a half of experience, John Morrell Food Group brands have become respected and well known for providing premium-quality meat products to families across the United States. With products ranging from lunchmeat and franks to smoked sausage, bacon and pepperoni, the John Morrell Food Group is an important part of consumers’ mealtimes. The John Morrell Food Group offers several national and regional brands including Armour®, Eckrich®, John Morrell®, Curly’s®, Patrick Cudahy®, Carando®, Healthy Ones®, Margherita® Kretschmar® and LunchMakers®.

About Smithfield Foods
Smithfield Foods is a $14 billion global food company and the world’s largest pork processor and hog producer. In the United States, the company is also the leader in numerous packaged meats categories with popular brands including Smithfield®, Eckrich®, Farmland®, Armour®, Cook’s®, Gwaltney®, John Morrell®, Kretschmar®, Curly’s®, Carando®, Margherita®, and Healthy Ones®. Smithfield Foods is committed to providing good food in a responsible way and maintains robust animal care, community involvement, employee safety, environmental, and food safety and quality programs. For more information, visit www.smithfieldfoods.com and www.smithfieldcommitments.com.

About STOMP Out Bullying
STOMP Out Bullying™ is the leading national anti-bullying/cyberbullying organization for kids and teens in the U.S.  It focuses on reducing and preventing bullying, cyberbullying, sexting and other digital abuse, educating against homophobia, racism and hatred, decreasing school absenteeism, and deterring violence in schools, online and in communities across the country. It teaches effective solutions on how to respond to all forms of bullying.  It educates kids and teens in school and online, provides  help for those in need and at risk of suicide, raises awareness, conducts peer mentoring programs in schools, creates and distributes public service announcements by noted celebrities, and engages in social media campaigns. An additional focus educates parents on how to keep their children safe and responsible online.

Logo – http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140916/146435

http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/armour-announces-partnership-stomp-bullying-155800779.html

at 7:05 pm

Loudon County Schools face $25 million bullying lawsuit


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http://www.local8now.com/home/headlines/Loudon-County-Schools-face-25-million-bullying-lawsuit-275229211.html

at 1:05 pm

Editorial: Kidsbridge Tolerance Museum continues mission to stop bullying with … – The Star

How sad to think that New Jersey needs a museum to teach children how not to be bullies.

How wonderful that we have one.

Over the last eight years, Kidsbridge Tolerance Museum has been reaching out to youngsters in third through 12th grades, stressing such time-honored values as tolerance and respect, diversity and civic-mindedness.

Its venue has been Forcina Hall on the campus of The College of New Jersey in Ewing, where the facility has played host to more than 2,200 students and 200 educators every year. But space needs recently forced museum officials to look for a new address – which they’ve found at the Ewing Community and Senior Center on Lower Ferry Road.

In an elegant arrangement, the museum will pay no rent to continue its important mission. Rather, under an agreement approved by the town council in June, the museum will offer anti-bullying training to the municipality’s schoolchildren — free of charge.

There’s a disturbing tendency by some – especially those who endured their share of verbal and physical abuse as students and lived to tell the tale – to dismiss anti-bullying efforts as just so much mollycoddling.

But studies reported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services indicate that bullying can lead to serious health issues, depression and poor academic performance. Some of these effects may linger into adulthood.

According to the department’s web site, stopbullying.gov, between one quarter and one third of all U.S students say they’ve been victimized, most of them in middle school. A whopping 70.6 percent say they’ve witnessed bullying in the classroom, cafeteria or schoolyard.

With its hands-on approach, the non-profit Kidsbridge Tolerance Museum seeks to dramatically cut those numbers.

Through interactive exhibits, games and small-group discussions, children learn in a safe environment what it’s like to bully and to be bullied. They become that girl whose peers won’t let her find a seat on the bus. They hear the slurs slung at the blind boy. They feel the confusion and helplessness of a fourth-grader watching a friend being relentlessly teased.

Kidsbridge bills itself as the only youth-tolerance museum in the United States, and its challenges are formidable: arming youngsters with the tools to stand up to tormenters and – better yet – helping them create an atmosphere where bullying meets zero-tolerance.

The nearly 15,000 participants who came through the museum when it was based at TCNJ bring a new perspective to their communities. We wish Kidsbridge continued success in its new home, with the paradoxical hope that one day the need for it will vanish.

Follow The Times of Trenton on Twitter @TimesofTrenton. Find The Times of Trenton on Facebook.

http://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2014/09/editorial_kidsbridge_tolerance_museum_continues_mission_to_stop_bullying_with_new_location.html

at 1:05 pm

Tuscaloosa County School update policy to combat bullying

Staff Writer

The Tuscaloosa County School System has updated its anti-

bullying policy in an effort to eradicate bullying in all its schools.

BRAVE or Building Responsibility Acceptance through Voice Empowerment, is an anti-harassment/anti-bullying program that calls for students, parents, educators and the community to work together to eliminate bullying.

“What we want to do is give students a voice and make them part of the process to empower them to create change,” said Greg Hurst, coordinator of student services for the county schools. “This program is designed to include parents, students, faculty, staff and the community because that’s the only way that we’ll be able to reduce it, eliminate it.”

Hurst said the school system is encouraging parents to get involved by signing anti-harassment forms and by looking for signs that their children are being bullied or are bullying others.

The community can get involved in the program by speaking to students about bullying, coming to school open houses and taking part in community discussions about bullying.

At schools, Hurst said the issue is being tackled in several ways.

The first step is training students to report bullying when they see or encounter it. But to do that, they need to know exactly what bullying is.

“There’s a misconception on what bullying is,” Hurst said. “Bullying is a continuous pattern of intentional behavior that takes place on school property, on a bus or at a school function. And the key word is continuous and intentional. If it happens one time, it could be perceived as bullying, but we look at that as discipline.”

Hurst said the consequences for a student committing a one-time offense against another student and a student continuously bullying another student, however, are the same. But if the bullying continues after the student has been disciplined, it could lead to law enforcement getting involved, according to the rules in the student code of conduct

“If it continues — harassment or otherwise — the parent has the option to contact the school resource officer because it could become criminal,” he said. “We only try to contact the SRO if it’s a criminal act. If the school has done their part and it’s consistent, we may have to get the SRO involved, but that’s the last option. We don’t want them to get involved in an issue that the school can handle.”

Once an incident has been reported, school administrators have 24 hours to investigate it. During the investigation, the principal of the school where the alleged bullying took place will interview the student who was bullied and the alleged bully.

Then both students will have an opportunity to provide witnesses and share their sides of the story with the principal.

If the investigation determines that bullying took place, discipline will follow.

In addition to training students to report bullying, school staff will watch for bullying too, especially if it frequently occurs.

“There’s bullying hot spots, which are the bus area, the gym, PE, the hallways, classrooms, locker rooms, lunch rooms, parking lots and extracurricular activities,” Hurst said. “What the schools do is pay major attention to these areas. There are cameras in the hallways, on the bus, in the cafeterias and in the lunchroom. We’re going to have administrators whose jobs are to monitor.”

Hurst said they’re also asking each school to conduct a monthly anti-bullying program. They can come with their own ideas because bullying looks different at each school, especially at different grade levels.

“Schools may want to discuss what is bullying, how to report it, possibly take part in National Bullying Awareness Month in October, or some schools may have guess speakers and conduct surveys for students asking them questions like ‘have you ever been bullied?’ ” he said.

According to a report on BRAVE, documenting everything that takes place will be a critical component to the program’s success.

Hurst said overall, their ultimate goal is to have safe schools where students can learn, feel good about themselves, have good behavior and attendance.

Reach Jamon Smith at jamon.smith@tuscaloosa

news.com or 205-722-0204.

http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20140915/NEWS/140919705/1291?Title=Tuscaloosa-County-School-update-policy-to-combat-bullying

at 1:05 pm

How The Emotional Impact Of Childhood Bullying Can Follow You To Your Work …

Sue Ismiel, CEO and founder of Sue Ismiel Daughters, producers of Nad’s line of hair removal products, clearly recalls the day she first experienced being bullied.

As a 15-year-old new arrival in Australia from Syria, a group of girls taunted her on the school bus over her lack of command of the English language.

“It happened at such a tender age and left such a huge impact on my life,” says Ismiel. Now, as a CEO, she credits her empathetic leadership style that has helped make her company a success, along with the traumatic experience of being bullied in her youth.

Ronald Riggio, professor of leadership and organizational psychology at Kravis Leadership Institute at Claremont McKenna College, says bullying often leaves deep emotional scars that follow us into adulthood, and can affect how we act as leaders and managers.

While some leaders may, like Ismiel, become more effective in their positions, Riggio explains, for others, the experience of bullying can leave a long-lasting negative impression, affecting the individual’s potential to become a good leader.

Targets Of Bullying Can Become More Empathetic Managers

For Ismiel, her experience of being bullied as a teenager caused her to be extra-sensitive to the needs of others as an adult. While she’s come across many other leaders who use the carrot and stick approach to get results, Ismiel says her leadership style is about encouraging people to do their best. This is likely a direct result of the horrible feeling of worthlessness that came from being bullied as a teenager; a feeling she says she doesn’t wish to be passed through those who work for her company.

Targets Of Bullying Can Become Bullies Themselves

It may seem counterintuitive, but Riggio says individuals who were bullied on the schoolyard, or as entry-level employees, often transform into office bullies when they assume leadership roles. “[Former targets of bullying] start to make the association that this is an acceptable way of dealing with other people or that it’s a good way to get what you want,” says Riggio.

The manager who had a Gordon Ramsey-type boss as an entry-level employee may assume their former boss’ behavior is responsible for getting them to where they are now, so this must be an appropriate management style. Or they may treat their new management position as a way to exact revenge; to finally be on the other side of the put downs and taunting. Riggio argues these individuals may not even recognize that they’re behaving in a similar manner to their former bullies, and often need to have a mirror held up to them to show how their behavior is affecting those around them.

Targets Of Bullying Can Lead The Way To Creating A More Positive Company Culture

Ismiel’s experience with bullying helped her to recognize the importance of building a company culture that doesn’t tolerate put downs and mistreatment of others in the workplace. Three years ago, Ismiel hired a highly skilled salesperson to be the company’s global sales director.

“He was highly experienced, he brought amazing skills, but he had a rotten attitude,” says Ismiel. “He undermined the people around him and belittled people.” She quickly recognized the signs of inter-office bullying, and stood up behind her company’s values.

She then made a decision to dismiss anyone who didn’t fit into the company culture she sought to create, no matter how talented they were. “I felt how painful that experience of bullying was so when I know that someone else is being bullied, that’s unacceptable in my business,” she says. Ismiel even implemented anti-harassment and bullying policies in her company to ensure her employees are always being treated with respect.

Targets Of Bullying Can Suffer From Poor Interpersonal Skills That Affect Their Ability To Be Effective Leaders

Bullying can leave deep emotional scars that take years to heal, and sometimes last a lifetime. Riggio says targets of bullying often suffer from low self-esteem, and have difficulty establishing good interpersonal relationships. “They will often enter relationships expecting the other person is going to use their power over them, so they’re always on guard waiting for the hammer to come down,” he says.

This can be extremely problematic in today’s workplace where an effective leader means establishing positive relationships with those on your team to get the most out of them. Riggio always recommends individuals who suffer from low self-esteem as a result of bullying episodes to seek counseling and participate in workshops to learn how to build positive interpersonal skills, allowing them to become more effective as leaders of their organization.

http://www.fastcompany.com/3035607/hit-the-ground-running/how-the-emotional-impact-of-childhood-bullying-can-follow-you-to-your

at 7:05 am

Pitt County schools welcome anti-bullying tour



Wellcome Middle School and Stokes School will welcome the 90-minute, peer-to-peer interactive program Monday.

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Two schools in Pitt County and surrounding counties in Eastern Carolina will host the Teen Nation Tour.

Wellcome Middle School will welcome the 90-minute, peer-to-peer interactive program Monday morning, followed by Stokes School in teh afternoon.

Tour artists are expected to perform popular music while also educating students about bullying and prevention.

The Teen Nation Tour also performs at non-school venues and other community events.

http://www.witn.com/home/headlines/Pitt-County-School-Welcomes-Anti-Bullying-Tour-275082511.html

at 7:05 am

Seminole teen’s family speaks on son’s death, bullying at Greenwood Lakes

A heartbroken Seminole County family spoke Monday about the bullying their son experienced before taking his own life.

With tears streaming down their face, the family of Lamar “Shaq” Hawkins held up pictures and talked about the pain their child was experiencing.

Nearly a dozen people gathered at the Morgan and Morgan law firm to talk about bullying.

The 14-year-old’s mother and father tearfully sat in the center.

The teen was found dead Sept. 10 in a bathroom at Greenwood Lakes Middle School in Lake Mary. Dozens of teens released balloons two days later to honor the memory of their classmate who took his own life.

Family members said the boy was very small because of health conditions and believe that made him an easy target for bullies.

Shaniqua Hawkins, the boy’s mother, told the room full of reporters her son was full of life.

“It is a feeling I hope that no other parent has to feel,” she said. “There are no words to describe the depth of our suffering. The pain is with us every moment of every day. We were aware that Shaq was struggling with bullies at school for many years, but he never led us to believe that he was thinking of taking his life.”

She said her son has been struggling with other kids pushing him down the stairs and mocking him for his size.

Hawkins said it broke her heart watching him walk out the door, knowing people were going to pick on him.

“I felt paralyzed by the inability to make the bullying stop at school,” Hawkins said. “I would watch him walk out the door of our home and knew there was a very good chance others would be cruel to him.”

Rebecca Sedwick’s mother, Tricia Norman, also attended the press conference.

Officials from both Seminole County Public Schools and the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office said they can’t confirm bullying was a factor in this case.

Sedwick committed suicide by jumping to her death in Polk County about a year ago. There were also issues of bullying in her death. Sedwick committed suicide by jumping to her death in Polk County about a year ago.

“I believe he took his life at school to send a message to these bullies that they were to blame for his suffering,” Hawkins said.

Dr. Walt Griffin, superintendent of Seminole County Public Schools, issued the following statement Monday:

This is a very tragic circumstance and our hearts and prayers remain with the family during this difficult time. We are aware the family held a press conference this morning and allegations of bullying were discussed. The School Board has a comprehensive bullying policy that is fully enforced in all of our schools. 

We must remind everyone that this is an ongoing law enforcement investigation and Seminole County Public Schools has cooperated fully from the beginning as the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office works diligently to gather the facts surrounding this tragedy. 

The school district remains firmly committed to assisting the family, our students, faculty and staff with support as they continue to grieve and heal. Additional counselors are in place at the school and will remain for as long as necessary.

 

http://www.mynews13.com/content/news/cfnews13/news/article.html/content/news/articles/cfn/2014/9/15/teen_bullying.html

at 7:05 am

Lamar Hawkins suicide: ‘Our hearts are broken,’ mother says

Shaniqua Hawkins’ voice trembled as she spoke publicly for the first time about the death of her son, Lamar Hawkins III.

At times, she even rocked back and forth, taking long pauses in between sentences — an attempt to fight back tears.

Surrounded by her husband, Lamar Hawkins Sr., extended family and Orlando attorney Matt Morgan, she told reporters at an emotional news conference Monday that bullies pushed her son over the edge.

“The hopelessness was overwhelming,” Hawkins said about her son, whose nickname was Shaq. “Our hearts are broken, and our lives are forever changed. Shaq is gone.”

The Greenwood Lakes Middle School student killed himself in the school’s bathroom on Wednesday.

His mother said they were aware of Lamar’s issues with bullies. But the boy, 14, never led his parents to believe he would take his own life, she said.

“We called him Shaq because, despite his size, he had a larger-than-life personality and attitude toward life,” his mother said. “His smile could light up a room, and his laugh was contagious.”

Another Central Florida mother, whose 12-year-old daughter, Rebecca Sedwick, committed suicide in September 2013 in Lakeland after months of alleged cyberbullying, also stood by the family’s side.

“I believe many of these children are being brushed under the rug,” Tricia Norman said. “When they voice their issues to the administration, they are not taken seriously.”

Whether bullying led to Lamar’s death is unknown now.

The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the events leading up to his suicide.

Investigators have said the gun Lamar used to shoot himself belongs to his father, Lamar Hawkins Sr., 34.

But Morgan, the family’s attorney, said the father’s gun was “stored in full compliance with Florida law.” Lamar’s tearful father sat quietly, holding his wife’s hand, at the news conference.

The family didn’t take questions afterward.

“These are loving parents,” Morgan said. “These are good people who did everything in their power to protect their son.”

Morgan said Friday that years of bullying led to Lamar’s suicide.

At the news conference, the family said health complications stunted his growth — making his small size an easy target for bullies.

The family relocated from New York to Sanford in an attempt to remove Lamar from a previous bullying environment, the mother said.

“Shaq was emotionally and physically abused while at school,” Lamar’s mother said. “They pushed him down stairs, knocked him out of his chair in the cafeteria … repeatedly attacked him with an intent to emotionally harm.”

Morgan said his parents met “multiple times” with school officials about the alleged bullying.

“Mr. Hawkins met with the administration a week or two before this tragedy occurred. He went to the school to voice his concerns multiple times over a two-year period,” Morgan said in an email.

After the news conference, Seminole County Public Schools officials addressed the family’s bullying allegations in the following statement:

“This is a very tragic circumstance and our hearts and prayers remain with the family during this difficult time,” said Walt Griffin, the school system’s superintendent. “We are aware the family held a press conference this morning and allegations of bullying were discussed. The School Board has a comprehensive bullying policy that is fully enforced in all of our schools.”

Lamar’s father created a GoFundMe account to raise money for his son’s funeral arrangements and other expenses, Morgan said.

The website is http://www.gofundme.com/Lamarslastwish.

“Despite constant attacks, he never let the bullies see him sweat,” Lamar’s mother said. “We now know that he was unable to continue his fight against the bullies. They won, because he took his life as a result.”

twalden@tribune.com or 407-420-5620

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/florida/os-bullying-suicide-lamar-hawkins-20140915,0,5459011.story

at 7:04 am

Do Anonymous Apps Enable Cyberbullying?

Posted by in Cyber Bullying

Do apps like Whisper, Secret and Ask.fm, which let their users mask their identity, give voice to cyberbullying and other bad behavior? Mike Dreiblatt, president of the activist group Stand Up to Bullying and co-author of How to Stop Bullying and Social Aggression, says that such apps tend to bring out the worst in young people, and has some advice for the apps as well as parents.

Mike Dreiblatt is president of the activist group Stand Up to Bullying and co-author of How to Stop Bullying and Social Aggression.

How pervasive is cyberbullying?
Twenty-five percent of students surveyed by the Cyberbullying Research Center said that they were cyberbullied at some point in their life; 87 percent of young people have reported seeing cyberbullying in their lifetime.

What’s your opinion of anonymous apps? Do they facilitate bullying?
My work with students indicates that anonymous apps tend to bring out the worst in people. For some students, their middle school and high school years are a time of very strong emotions. Some students use anonymous apps to strike at someone virtually that they can’t strike at in real life. Sometimes, teenagers lash out anonymously because they think the other person started it. Some cyberbullying is inadvertent. They think they’ve made a joke. They think it’s funny, and friends egg them on. Later they can’t believe what they said.

What precautions should parents take to safeguard kids online?
Before your child even has a cellphone, talk to them—when they’re 3-, 4-, 5-years-old—about what we do online. Like you’d prepare them for crossing the street, prepare them for the digital highway. Discuss Internet and cellphone etiquette. Post rules next to the computer, which should be in a common area, such as the living room. Talk to your child about cyberbullying and its various incarnations. Teach children never to meet an online friend offline unless you are with them. Teach them what information they can share with others online and what they can’t, such as telephone numbers, addresses, their full name and school. Remind children that they should not send any information that they don’t want the general public to see. Use parental control software on all electronic devices.

What should you do if your kids are bullied?
Tell them not every cyberbully needs a response. If they receive a message or picture [that’s inappropriate], try to ignore it. Sometimes, bullies are just trying to get a rise. If it persists, try to get documentation. Try to get screenshots, especially if it’s something like Snapchat [where communications quickly vanish]. If it gets to the point where it’s really hurtful or sexual, or goes on a long time, parents should tell kids that they need to put their devices down. Just don’t look. Don’t check. Getting school personnel involved may be useful if the cyberbullying happens at school or is having an impact on the student’s ability to learn.

What if your kid is the bully?
Kids try on different personalities. A child might try out cyberbullying behavior. You need to tell them, “That’s not how we act in this family, and we mean it.” You almost have to have a family intervention. Tell them, “We’re going to monitor you,” and add software so you can do it. It’s important that this is not just yelling at a child, but talking to them and following up.

Secret just instituted new measures to combat bullying. What should app makers do to ensure kids’ safety?
At times it feels like it is taking too long, but anonymous apps are getting better at following common sense policies and procedures that limit bullying and ensure kids’ safety. That said, anonymous apps still have a long way to go.

Could controversies over bullying scare off investors and advertisers?
Unfortunately, unless there is a long and sustained public outcry, I think investors and advertisers will participate in anonymous apps if they think it is financially advantageous.

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Topics:
anonymous apps, Apps, Ask.fm, Cellphones, children, children’s safety, cyberbullying, Facebook, Kids, Magazine Content, Mobile, Online, online, Secret, Social, The Social Issue, Twitter, Whisper

http://adweek.feedsportal.com/c/34792/f/641570/s/3e7f823a/sc/36/l/0L0Sadweek0N0Cnews0Ctechnology0Cdo0Eanonymous0Eapps0Eenable0Ecyberbullying0E160A145/story01.htm

at 1:04 am

Boy who committed suicide was ‘attacked’ by bullies, family says

THIS IS “WESH 2 NEWS FIRST AT 4″ IN HIGH DEFINITION. FELT PARALYZED BY THE INABILITY TO MAKE THE BULLYING STOP AT SCHOOL. IT WAS A FEELING THAT I HOPE NO OTHER PARENT EVER HAS TO FEEL. RIGHT NOW AN EMOTION ALABAMA — EMOTIONAL PLEA FROM A MOTHER TO END BULLYING AT SCHOOL. I’M JIM PAYNE. I’M MICHELLE IMPERADO. THE MOTHER OF A 14-YEAR-OLD WHO KILLED HIMSELF DEMANDS ANSWERS ABOUT WHETHER ANYTHING COULD HAS BEEN DONE TO PREVENT THE BULLYING THAT SHE SAYS CAUSED HER SON’S DEATH. DAVE MCDANIEL IS LIVE WITH MORE ON THEIR FRUSTRATION AND THE SCHOOL DISTRICT’S REACTION. DAVE? JIM, THE FAMILY SAYS THEIR SON WAS SMALL FOR HIS AGE BECAUSE OF A HEALTH ISSUE. THEY SAY THAT SMALL SIZE MADE HIM AN EASY TARGET FOR BULLIES. THEY SAY DESPITE EVERY EFFORT THEY MADE TO TRY TO STOP THE BULLYING, THEY SAY IT CONTINUED. OUR HEARTS ARE BROKEN. OUR LIVES ARE FOREVER CHANGED. SHAQ IS GONE. 14-YEAR-OLD LAMAR HAWKINS, CALLED SHAQ BY HIS PARENTS BECAUSE OF HIS LARGE PERSONALITY, TRAGICALLY ENDED HIS LIFE WITH A GUN LAST WEDNESDAY AT GREENWOOD LAKES MIDDLE SCHOOL. HIS FAMILY SAYS THEY MOVED HERE FROM NEW YORK TWO YEARS AGO TO GET AWAY FROM BULLIES THERE. HERE THEY SAY IT CONTINUED. THEY PUSHED HIM DOWN STAIRS, KNOCKED HIM OUT OF THE CHAIR IN THE CAFETERIA, MOCKED HIM DUE TO HIS SIZE AND REPEATEDLY ATTACKED HIM WITH AN INTENT TO EMOTIONALLY HARM HIM. WE WERE AWARE THAT SHAQ WAS STRUGGLING WITH BULLIES FOR MANY YEARS. BUT HE NEVER LED US TO BELIEVE THAT HE WAS THINKING OF TAKING HIS LIFE. THE TEEN SHOT HIMSELF IN A BOY’S BATHROOM AT THE SCHOOL SOMETIME LAST WEDNESDAY. WHEN HIS MOTHER CAME TO PICK HIM UP AFTER SCHOOL AND HE WAS AIN’T ROUND THE SEARCH LED TO HIS BODY BEING FOUND AT 11:00 P.M. THAT NIGHT. THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE SAYS THE GUN BELONGED TO THE TEEN’S FATHER. I CAN TELL YOU THAT MR. HAWKINS FIREARM WAS STORED IN FULL COMPLIANCE WITH FLORIDA LAW. WE NOW KNOW THAT HE WAS UNABLE TO CONTINUE HIS FIGHT AGAINST THE BULLIES. THEY WON BECAUSE HE TOOK HIS LIFE AS A RESULT. THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE SAYS IT IS STILL INTERVIEWING DUE STUDENTS AND STAFF AS THE INVESTIGATION INTO THE SUICIDE CONTINUES. I BELIEVE HE TOOK HIS LIFE AT SCHOOL TO SEND A MESSAGE TO THESE BULLIES THAT THEY WERE TO BLAME FOR HIS SUFFERING. NOW THIS IS THE BULLYING AND HARASSMENT POLICY. IT’S ROUGHLY 17 PAGES LONG N. A WRITTEN STATEMENT RELEASED BY THE SUPERINTENDENT TODAY, HE SAID THE SCHOOL BOARD HAS A VERY COMPREHENSIVE BULLYING POLICY. AND HE SAYS IT IS FULLY ENFORCED AT ALL OF THE SEMINOLE COUNTY SCHOOLS. NOW BECAUSE OF STUDENT PRIVACY ISSUES, THEY CANNOT COMMENT AT ALL ABOUT THIS INDIVIDUAL CASE.

http://www.wesh.com/boy-who-committed-suicide-was-attacked-by-bullies-family-says/28071090

at 1:04 am

Videos of Bullying and Educating Children, A NoBullying Article Released Today


Videos of Bullying and Educating Children, A NoBullying Article Released Today

PRWEB.COM Newswire

PRWEB.COM NewswireLondon, UK (PRWEB) September 15, 2014

Videos of bullying fill every social media outlet out there. From real life stories of bullying to student projects, bullying videos are out there. But are they watched? Do they educate children on bullying awareness? Do they serve a purpose? NoBullying investigates the plethora of videos of bullying available online in an article released today.

The article features several types of bullying videos all designed and edited to serve a certain purpose. From bullying cartoons to videos of bullying or cyber bullying victims telling their sad stories, everyone seems to have something to say about bullying today but are those messages and words coming across to the other side or are their words left unheard and unnoticed?

When looking at bullying and anti bullying videos, one video springs to mind, that is the video of Amanda Todd, a cyber bullying victim who took to Youtube to tell her story of online abuse and cyber bullying and her battle with depression and self harm following those traumatic events. Amanda eventually couldn’t handle it and took her own life. The video is still available on Youtube and remains as a harsh reminder of the reality of cyber bullying for the victims and their families.

Many teens have embarked on creating bullying awareness videos related to school bullying and school violence in an attempt of creating their own stop bullying campaign. While their efforts and desire to end bullying in their circle is to be commended, the truth remains that many of those brilliant videos go unnoticed by school administrators and community members who still brush bullying as “sticks and stones” or “boys will be boys” rhetoric.

The article also looks at the importance of showing younger children bullying videos. While some children are being active in raising bullying awareness, other children have no idea what effects their actions and words could have on their school mates or online friends. Children and teens are in desperate need to be heard and understood without having to brush with hate speech and violent actions in school and online.

Ciaran Connolly, Co Founder of NoBullying, notes that these questions need more research on the parents’ side. There is no one article or one resource that could parents at ease when it comes to their children’s safety in school and online.

Connolly says “No parent will ever be 100% trusting or assured when it comes to their children’s safety. Videos of bullying could be helpful to educate parents, teachers and teens about the dangers of bullying and cyber bullying and how words could hurt.”

He added that parents and teachers should make a point to educate the younger generations about the sad outcome of bullying online and offline. According to Connolly, it is quite imperative to press for more firm laws condemning all acts of bullying and harassment.

NoBullying.com features many pages dedicated to parents, teens, teachers, health professionals as well as posts related to cyber safety and the latest news about law making concerning curbing Bullying worldwide as well as inspirational Bullying Poems and famous Bullying Quotes.

The website regularly updates its bullying statistics and cyber bullying statistics as it is essential to understand how widespread the bullying epidemic is. It also regularly runs cyber bullying surveys and questionnaires to get recent updated statistics on everything related to cyberbullying.

He also added that anyone suffering from bullying in any form or way can always find advice and help on the NoBullying website – but if anyone is suffering from severe bullying or cyber bullying, the best thing is to talk to someone locally – a parent, teacher or local organization that has been set up to help with specialized councilors to deal with this topic.

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/09/prweb12168412.htm

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http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/2188557

at 1:04 am

Sen. Ridley Named to Governor’s Youth Bullying Prevention Task Force


Rosalind Turner

Senator Dorsey RidleyKENTUCKY (9/15/14) — Senator Dorsey Ridley, D-Henderson, was appointed last week by Governor Steve Beshear to the Kentucky Youth Bullying Prevention Task Force.

The 22 member panel, which includes students, will study bullying in schools as well as recommended practices and policies to help foster safer, harassment-free school environments.

“I am honored that Governor Beshear named me to the Bullying Prevention Task Force,” said Senator Ridley. “Sadly, thousands of Kentucky students are victims of bullies – making it necessary to continually address this type of behavior.”

More than one in four Kentucky students aged 12 to 18 reported being bullied at school in 2011, and the Kentucky Department of Education recorded 15,520 incidents of bullying in Kentucky during the 2012-13 school year. That’s one reported bullying incident every four minutes of every school day.

“No child should be so discouraged by bullies that he or she avoids school or withdraws from friends or activities,” Gov. Beshear said in a release announcing the task force. “Yet recent research suggests that getting bullied is a common experience. This task force will work on ways to empower students and to implement practices that root out intimidation and harassment.”

Education Commissioner Terry Holliday and Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes outlined the impacts of bullying on young Kentuckians in a letter to the governor last month and urged him to create the task force.

The Youth Bullying Prevention Task Force will analyze existing laws and policies; interview school professionals, bullying victims and other experts; and collect training and resource materials. The group will submit its findings, including recommendations for policy initiatives and school practices, in a report to the Governor by Nov. 15, 2015.

“Acts of bullying don’t just affect the victim – one bully in a classroom or neighborhood creates an atmosphere of tension, making it difficult to concentrate, much less learn effectively,” said Commissioner Holliday. ”We owe it to our students, our teachers and our community to seek ways to eliminate these aggressive acts and foster good learning environments.”

Research suggests that one out of every 10 high school dropouts cites bullying as the main reason for leaving school, and bullying is a significant contributing factor in many teen suicides and suicide attempts.

“Bullies don’t always inflict physical harm; the psychological damage can be corrosive, especially over time,” said Secretary Haynes. “Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young Kentuckians. I hope this task force can find ways to reduce incidents of bullying and give children tools to respond responsibly and effectively.”

 “No child should have to be afraid or feel there is no hope because of harassment at school,” said Senator Ridley. “I am optimistic that this task force will find some of the necessary tools to lessen bullying.”

Senator Ridley serves the 4th district, which includes Caldwell, Crittenden, Henderson, Livingston, Union and Webster counties.

The 22-member Youth Bullying Prevention Task Force named by Governor Beshear includes:

  • Commissioner Terry Holliday
  • Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes
  • Morgan Guess, of Paducah; 11-year-old student at Lone Oak Middle School who experienced bullying at her school; has since worked with students and social media to promote kindness and discourage bullying
  • Susan Guess, of Paducah; marketing director for Paducah Bank and mother to Morgan Guess
  • Mark Simendinger, of Edgewood; general manager of Kentucky Speedway in Sparta.
  • Rachel Willoughby, of Prestonsburg; director, Mountain Regional Prevention Center at Mountain Comprehensive Care Center
  • Dr. Nancy Cunningham, of Louisville; licensed counseling psychologist and professor emeritus in the Department of Education and Counseling Psychology, Counseling and College Student Personnel at the University of Louisville
  • Ben Reno-Weber, of Louisville; CEO, Kentucky YMCA
  • Dr. Vestena Robbins, of Richmond; policy adviser for the Kentucky Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities; adjunct faculty member in the Department of Educational Leadership Studies at UK
  • Dr. Thomas Aberli, of Louisville; principal, Atherton High School
  • Jon Akers, of Georgetown; executive director for the Kentucky Center for School Safety
  • Bo Matthews, of Glasgow; superintendent, Barren County Schools
  • Carl Frazier, of Lexington; attorney at Stoll Keenon Ogden
  • Craig Browning, of Smiths Grove; regional president, U.S. Bank
  • Dr. Patty Cook-Craig, of Richmond; associate professor and chair of the MSW Community and Social Development Concentration at the University of Kentucky College of Social Work
  • Juanita Collier Spangler, of Whitesburg; sixth-grade language arts teacher at Whitesburg Middle School
  • Major Robert Carter III, of Madisonville; Madisonville Police Department
  • Dr. Kelly Davis, of Bowling Green; director of Exceptional Children for the Green River Region Educational Cooperative
  • Sen. Mike Wilson, of Bowling Green
  • Sen. Dorsey Ridley, of Henderson
  • Rep. Derrick Graham, of Frankfort
  • Rep. Regina Bunch, of Williamsburg

SurfKY News
Information provided by Rosalind Turner

© Copyright 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

http://surfky.com/index.php/news/local/henderson/52681-sen-ridley-named-to-governors-youth-bullying-prevention-task-force

September 15, 2014 at 7:04 pm

Superheroes fight bullying – Officers surpass fundraising goal for K-9′s …

There wasn’t a villain to be seen Saturday morning as superheroes lined Lafayette Park in Austin, ready to fight crime during a 5K.

“They’re obsessed with superheroes; we saw the flier at the gym,” Joe Chidester said about his two sons.

Members of Community Against Bullying, also known as CAB, and the Austin Police Officer Association joined together to hold a 5K Saturday to raise money to support educational opportunities to help empower kids to not become bullied or be the bully. Four Austin police officers also ran in the 5K in their Special Incident Response Team armored vests — about 25 extra pounds — to raise money to buy a protective vest for Lt. Matt Holten’s K-9 partner Sonic.

“It will protect the dog both with sharp objects and guns,” Walski said. “We kind of feel that he should have the same protection as the officers do.”

For the Superhero Dash, participants dressed up as their favorite superheroes.

Runners celebrate as they cross the finish line Saturday at the Superhero Dash.Runners celebrate as they cross the finish line Saturday at the Superhero Dash.

Jack Chidester, 5, dressed as Optimus Prime — “Because that’s my favorite [Transformer].”

His brother, Jayce, 3, also dressed as a favorite: “I like Batman,” he said.

Joe and his wife, Jenna, brought their two sons and their four-month-old daughter, Pressli, to the race. Though not expert racers, the family was excited to be a part of the fun.

According to Danielle Nesvold, about 60 participants showed up to the race Saturday. The event raised about $2,850, and $2,500 will be matched by Modern Woodmen of America, leaving them at about $5,350 to go towards bringing speakers and other presenters to the Austin Public Schools to talk about bully prevention. But this wasn’t the only agenda for the event.

Officers Mark Walski, Kim Lenz, Rian Jones and Tim Donovan ran to support Sonic.

“It’s kind of nice, when I initially started telling the guys I was going to do it, it was just me,” Walski said.

K-9 Sonic rests between demonstrations on Saturday morning at the Superhero Dash. Officers participated during the 5K to raise funds for a bullet/stab proof vest for Sonic. K-9 Sonic rests between demonstrations on Saturday morning at the Superhero Dash. Officers participated during the 5K to raise funds for a bullet/stab proof vest for Sonic.

He added with a laugh, “To have three other people suffering with me is kind of nice.”

The goal was to raise $1,000, which is the cost for the vest. The team surpassed that goal and raised about $1,500, with money still coming in.

“[We] raised more than enough,” Walski said. “[We] have enough to get the vest, and the rest [will] donate to CAB.”

He added, “To help them out and do something on the side with the dog, [it’s] kind of fun and brings people together.”

Sonic also made an appearance on race-day, giving a demonstration with Holten. This was the first year of the Superhero Dash, but not the first year of a fundraiser. Members started fundraising in February of 2011 with a “take it to the street” approach, standing on street corners with buckets. Organizers plan to hold the dash again next year.

—Eric Johnson contributed to this report.

Runners begin the Superhero Dash 5K Saturday at Lafayette Park. Phots by Jenae Hackensmith/jenae.hackensmith@austindailyherald.comRunners begin the Superhero Dash 5K Saturday at Lafayette Park. Phots by Jenae Hackensmith/jenae.hackensmith@austindailyherald.com

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http://www.austindailyherald.com/2014/09/superheroes-fight-bullying-officers-surpass-fundraising-goal-for-k-9s-protective-vest/

at 7:04 pm

Mother says bullying led to her son’s suicide at Lake Mary school


ORLANDO, Fla. –

The family of a 14-year-old student who shot and killed himself at a Lake Mary middle school said the boy took his own life because he was tormented by bullies.

Lamar “Shaq” Hawkins was found dead last week at Greenwood Lakes Middle School.

Lamar’s mother, Shaniqua Hawkins, said her son, who was small for his age because of health complications, was called “Shaq” because he had a “larger than life personality.” 

Hawkins said her son’s size made him an easy target, adding that he was emotionally and physically abused.

“They pushed him down stairs, knocked him out of his chair in the cafeteria, mocked him due to his size and repeatedly attacked him with an intent to emotionally harm him,” she said.

Hawkins, who was joined by her husband, Lamar, said their son never showed any signs, however, that he wanted to take his own life.

“Shaq was always so positive despite being tormented by bullies,” Hawkins said.  “(But the bullies) won because he took his life as a result of (the abuse).”

Hawkins said she believes her son took his life at school to send a message to the bullies.  She also said the bullying began while the family was living in New York and continued in Florida.

“We made several attempts to put the school on notice there were bullies at school,” Hawkins said, without adding any other details.

“There are no words to describe the death of our son right now,” Hawkins said.  “It’s a feeling I hope no other parents has to feel.  The hopelessness is overwhelming.”

Attorney Matt Morgan, who’s representing the Hawkins, said that the gun used in her son’s suicide belonged to the boy’s father, adding that it was stored properly.

Hawkins said Lamar’s death is the second tragedy to hit their family in the past month.  She said she recently gave birth, but the child didn’t survive.

Morgan said the issue of bullying needs to be seriously addressed.

“People don’t think it’s that big of a deal, for whatever reason,” Morgan said.  “How many children have to die before bullies are held accountable for their actions?”

Later Monday, Seminole County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Walt Griffin released a statement about the Hawkins’ news conference.

“This is a very tragic circumstance and our hearts and prayers remain with the family during this difficult time.  We are aware the family held a press conference this morning and allegations of bullying were discussed.  The School Board has a comprehensive bullying policy that is fully enforced in all of our schools. 

“We must remind everyone that this is an ongoing law enforcement investigation and Seminole County Public Schools has cooperated fully from the beginning as the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office works diligently to gather the facts surrounding this tragedy. 

“The school district remains firmly committed to assisting the family, our students, faculty and staff with support as they continue to grieve and heal.  Additional counselors are in place at the school and will remain for as long as necessary.”

The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office said it continues to look into Lamar’s death.

“The investigation is still ongoing as we continue to look into the events that led up to this tragedy,” said Kim Cannaday, spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office.

The family has started a Go Fund Me account to raise money for Lamar’s funeral expenses.

atch Local 6 News and stay with ClickOrlando.com for more on this story.

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