November 28, 2014 at 7:59 pm

Renton schools taking a new look at bullying prevention

The Renton School District is updating its bullying prevention materials at the high school level, which are now about 20 years old.

In the last two years the district has trained all its elementary school teachers, assigned a harassment, bullying and intimidation compliance officer as required by the state, and is now developing tools for secondary staff to use with middle and high school students.

According to administration, bullying is not as widespread and out-of-control in the district as one might think. Last year there were only three cases that rose to the attention of the compliance officer, Ginny Knox. Two of the incidents were at the elementary school level and one was at a high school.

The state defines it as repeated bullying of a targeted student, where there is an imbalance of power.

“I think the only difference (now) is that everybody’s much more aware of it,” said Knox about the climate for bullying awareness in schools today. “So when it happens, if it ends up on the news, it’s more publicized and people are talking about it more.”

Knox is quick to point out that bullying has always been around, but people used to blow it off as “kids being kids.”

“They would address it, but it wouldn’t get as much attention and now people are really noticing it because there’s been some links to suicide,” said Knox. “Kids now who’ve been bullied have been doing some of the mass shootings. I mean they’re seeing that bullying really does have an effect on kids. It’s not just kids being kids; we need to address it.”

Now there is a whole language and lesson plans around bullying prevention. For 20 years the district had materials from the Committee for Children’s Second Step program that talked about empathy and inclusion, but didn’t specifically offer lesson plans on bullying prevention.

Two years ago the district purchased updated materials from the same company that it has been using to train staff.

Not only are classroom teachers and principals receiving training, but bus drivers and custodians, who might also encounter incidents are included too.

So far, training at the elementary level has gone well and teachers are committed and engrossed in providing the curriculum. Librarians teach a cyber-bullying component at all of the elementary schools too.

McKnight Middle School staff seems to have implemented their lessons, but Nelsen and Dimmitt middle schools still have work to do, in part because they have a lot of new counselors on staff, Knox said.

Dr. Jason Breaker is in charge of all the counselors in the district.

“It depends on how the schools respond to it is what makes the difference,” said Breaker. “And I think Renton is doing a very good job of trying to implement a systemic approach to responding to bullying.”

This year there’s been just one case so far that’s risen to the administrative level. Most of the incidents are being handled at the schools between the teacher, principal, students and families involved.

“Most of the cases aren’t true bullying, if you look at the definition,” said Knox. “It’s a kid who has behavior issues, but they’re not targeting one student.”

at 7:59 pm

Astronaut Scott Kelly message against bullying

NASA astronaut Scott Kelley, who is scheduled to fly on a one-year spaceflight mission in 2015, is lending his voice to help reduce bullying.

Kelly recorded a special message encouraging people to take action.

“Be more than just a bystander,” said Kelly in the message. “Take action and do something to stop bullying. Teamwork makes the dream work at NASA. There is no space for bullying.”

Kelley said he felt compelled to act after hearing cases of bullying around the country.

“I thought of my own daughters, and I recalled my experiences as a child watching other kids bully others without accountability,” Kelley said.

Kelley’s message will be part of a larger cross-federal agency prevention effort that includes the the White House and U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Education, Justice, Agriculture and Defence.

Kelly and two Russian cosmonauts will launch to the International Space Station in March 2015.

Watch Kelly’s full message here:

at 7:59 pm

Cocoa High students hear anti-bullying message

After an instance of bullying last spring rattled the Bionic Tigers FIRST Robotics team, which includes members from Cocoa High School and Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy, students gathered to discuss the problem.

Robotics can attract students who have a more academic bent than most, and teams provide a safe place where teens can explore their interests in computers or math or engineering.

And while discussing the problem, teammates realized: If bullying could happen in robotics, “we know it could happen anywhere,” said 17-year-old Courtney Roberts.

“We need to stop bullying and being mean to each other,” the Cocoa High senior said. “We need to start treating each other as humans.”

And so the team created an outreach effort to address and prevent bullying using resources from “The BULLY Project,” a national campaign to stop bullying. Students presented the message and showed the documentary “Bully” to about 150 student leaders at Cocoa High earlier this week.

“If we can reach one kid, we can reach the whole team,” said Reilly Branch, a robotics team member who attends Merritt Island High.

Bullying occurs in every community. More than 1 in 4 middle and high school students say they’ve been bullied, and about 7 in 10 say they’ve seen bullying occur, according to a national study cited on

During the presentation, the robotics team urged their classmates to act when they see bullying occur. According to one study, in more than half of cases, bullying will dissipate within 10 seconds if a bystander intervenes.

“We wanted to get the word out that it’s not okay, and, locally at least, we want to stop bullying,” Branch said.

It’s an issue she knows well. While in middle school, Branch, now 14, was targeted by certain classmates. She said they would call her names and block her way while walking through the hallways.

“I pretended not to care,” she said. “I’ve learned that if I don’t care, they don’t care. I give them this face that is completely calm and completely fine. They won’t see it as bothering me, and they won’t do it again.”

The message also resonated with Cocoa High student government president Tiara Carroll, a 17-year-old who recalls being bullied while in elementary school because of her outspoken nature.

But then she started to embrace her strengths — and she found friends who embraced her. And now, as part of the student government, she plans on paying it forward.

“We try to help our school as much as possible,” she said.

Ryan is at 321-242-3664 or Follow her on Twitter @Mackenzie_Ryan or at

Bullying free resource

KnowBullying is a free mobile app that includes ideas for starting conversations with your children or teens, tips for preventing or intervening when bullying occurs, and signs to watch for if you think your child is being bullied.

Here’s a few “dos and don’ts” if you suspect your child is being bullied, among the resources on the app, which was created by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Do tell your child bullying is not their fault

Do tell your child to not react, walk away and get help if they are pursued

Do contact the school for assistance with stopping the bullying

Don’t ask children to solve the bullying problem on their own

Don’t advise children to fight back, which could have physical and academic consequences

Don’t attempt to mediate the bullying situation, which could further victimize your child


at 1:58 pm

Kilpatrick, Wallace to fight Saturday; anti-bullying promoted

Kilpatrick, Wallace to fight Saturday; anti-bullying promoted

Jake Smith‘s Baltimore Boxing Promotions will host an evening of Olympic-style boxing and anti-bullying awareness Saturday at the Myers Pavilion. Headlining is the East Coast middleweight title bout between Rashad Kilpatrick of Washington and Baltimore Boxing’s Donald Wallace. In the co-feature, Maryland junior middleweight champion Allen Burris defends his title against an opponent to be named. In a featured bout, multitime champion Joey “Bazooka Joe” Veazy meets Jessie Singletary, while Ernie “Lightning Bug” Hall, Melad Attashy and Arno Young are all scheduled to appear in separate bouts. Tickets starting at $25 are available by calling 410-375-9175 or going to Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the first fight starts at 8 p.m. Baltimore Boxing is teaming up with “I Belong,” a campaign of bullying prevention organization Unified Efforts, which was founded by former Baltimore detective Debbie Ramsey.

College swimming: St. Mary’s College junior Grant Burgess (Fallston) was named Capital Athletic Conference Men’s Swimmer of the Week. … St. Mary’s College senior captain Brooke Raab (Hereford) was named CAC Women’s Swimmer of the Week.

Youth gymnastics: Thousands of gymnasts from levels 3 to 10 will compete in the Christmas on the Chesapeake Gymnastics Invitational from Dec. 12 to 14 at the Baltimore Convention Center. For information, go to

From Sun staff and news services

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun

at 7:58 am

Letter: No bullying involved in party choice

Posted: Friday, November 28, 2014 12:00 am

Letter: No bullying involved in party choice

In response to Ana Marie Blevins’ Nov. 14 Letter “Leave the Political Bullying Behind,” she seems to be under the misguided belief that African- Americans and other minorities overwhelmingly reject Republicans because they are “bullied” by Democrats.

She asks them to vote for the party of Frederick Douglass, Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. (note: according to King’s family he did not endorse any political party). Unlike many poor whites, blacks (when they vote) have always voted for candidates who support their best interests, although many choices were truly the lesser of evils. Perhaps some folks were not offended when leadership in the Republican Party called blacks “lazy freeloaders looking for a handout.” Was anyone listening when the right wing consistently accused the first African-American president of lying about where he was born, and a Georgia GOP representative called Mrs. Obama a gorilla?

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Friday, November 28, 2014 12:00 am.

at 7:58 am

Kyle Neddenriep picks the high school football title games

Posted by in School

Ben Davis will bring a prolific passing offense with it to Lucas Oil Stadium for Friday’s Class 6A state championship football game against top-ranked Carmel.

Credit goes to senior quarterback Kyle Castner, the program’s all-time leader in passing yards, and an offensive line that keeps him upright. But kudos also must go to a group of receivers who each bring something a little different to the table.

The numbers tell part of the story. In 2011, Caleb Cornett set the Ben Davis single-season record with 47 catches. So far this season, four receivers have surpassed or eclipsed Cornett’s mark and another – senior Rashawn Bond – needs two more receptions to catch him.

“Pretty amazing,” Ben Davis coach Mike Kirschner said. “They are a good group.”

Here’s a look at the group, which has spread the wealth with remarkably similar numbers:

• Stori Emerson: The 6-2, 190-pound junior leads the team with 860 receiving yards – a new school record – and 10 touchdowns. He’s tied for the team lead with 52 receptions. Emerson is also a basketball player and has a reputation as the group’s big-play threat.

“He has that knack for the big play,” Kirschner said. “He doesn’t appear to be fast, but is fast. He’s kind of elusive with his speed.”

• Brennan Gillis: The 6-6, 205-pound senior is a Northern Kentucky basketball recruit. Gillis shares the team-lead with 52 catches and has 635 yards and three TDs. Gillis size makes him difficult to defend.

“He’s a very smart, disciplined route runner,” Kirschner said.

• Rashawn Bond: The 5-8, 150-pound senior has 45 catches for 508 yards and two TDs.

“He’s a little undersized but a very tough kid,” Kirschner said. “He’s not one of those whose afraid to go across the middle even if he knows he’s going to get hit.”

• Trew Smith: The 6-1, 190-pound senior is a converted quarterback. He has 50 catches for 554 yards and five touchdowns and has also rushed for 143 yards and a TD.

“He’s been a quarterback his whole life and we converted him this summer,” Kirschner said. “He kept working as a quarterback and throws the ball really well. He’s very athletic kid.”

• Chris Evans: The 5-10, 175-pound junior isn’t categorized as just a receiver, but has caught 47 balls for 663 yards and 10 TDs. Evans, splitting time with Dorian Tate at running back, has rushed for 1,117 yards and 17 TDs.

“He’s one of those kids who when he gets the ball in space, he can take it to the house,” Kirschner said.

If fourth-ranked Ben Davis (11-2) is to break through and win its eighth state championship, at least a couple of those receivers will need big games. It didn’t happen in the regular season meeting, a game Carmel led 30-0 in the third quarter and won 37-14.

Carmel (13-0) gouged the Ben Davis defense for 472 rushing yards in the first meeting, just 27 yards short of the Greyhounds’ all-time single-game record. While that figures to be an area of concern again, the Giants’ offense also must match Carmel.

“They dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball,” Kirschner said. “We had 11 drops and seven bad snaps. It was nobody’s fault but our own, but Carmel played very physical. They controlled the game. They took us out behind the woodshed.”

• Carmel coach Kevin Wright, who could become the eighth coach with five or more state championships, shared a story from his first head coaching job at Frankfort in 1991.

The Hot Dogs, 0-9 the previous season, were headed home on the bus after their first win in the fall of ’91 against Clinton Central, a game played at the then-RCA Dome.

The bus was eerily silent, Wright said.

“Every experience I’d had ever had, especially at Sheridan, which is very similar to Frankfort, you’re singing the school song and having a good time,” Wright said. “Finally I turn around (on the bus) and look at one of the guys and he says, ‘Coach, this is the first time we’ve been allowed to talk on the bus on the way home. We don’t know what to do.’”

Frankfort went 4-5 that year and Wright moved on to Noblesville, where he spent the next seven seasons.

• I was a disappointing 5-5 last week on predictions to fall to 383-100 (79.3 percent) on the season. Here’s a look at the six state finals picks:

Class 6A, 7:05 p.m. Friday: I’ll be disappointed if Ben Davis doesn’t make this a much closer game than the regular season meeting. I’d be surprised, in fact. Can the Giants do a better job stopping the run? That is the biggest question. If Carmel can shove the ball down their throat with Shakir Paschall (1,172 yards, 11 TDs) and Chris Perkins (1,061 yards, 14 TDs), it’ll be a long night again for Ben Davis. Carmel 31, Ben Davis 24.

Class 5A, 7:05 p.m. Saturday: This is the first state championship game where the two teams have a combined 10 losses as seventh-ranked Cathedral (8-5) plays unranked LaPorte (8-5). Cathedral 34, LaPorte 24.

Class 4A, 3:30 p.m. Friday: The only loss between eighth-ranked New Prairie (13-1) and second-ranked New Palestine (14-0) is New Prairie falling 56-42 to 5A finalist LaPorte in the season opener. After last week’s thrilling 30-28 win over top-ranked and defending champion Columbus East, it’s hard to see anything stopping the Dragons. New Palestine 31, New Prairie 21.

Class 3A, 3:30 p.m. Saturday: Top-ranked Andrean (14-0) pushed its winning streak to 29 games with a late field goal last week in a 17-15 win over Fort Wayne Luers. Fifth-ranked Tri-West has won 13 in a row and has defeated three ranked teams to get here. Tri-West 24, Andrean 23.

Class 2A, noon Friday: Second-ranked Rensselaer Central (14-0) can win its first state championship in any sport, but will have to get through top-ranked Evansville Mater Dei (14-0). Rensselaer’s Ryan Arihood has rushed for 1,915 yards and 37 TDs, while Mater Dei has a pair of 1,000-yard rushers in Julian Weidner (1,353 yards) and Drayke Richardt (1,218 yards). Rensselaer Central 21, Evansville Mater Dei 20.

Class A, noon Saturday: Second-ranked North Vermillion (14-0) is playing for its first football state title, while No. 5 Pioneer (13-1) won it in 1997. Pioneer 28, North Vermillion 27.

at 7:58 am

School’s Thanksgiving meal reflects diverse student body

Posted by in School

Growing up in Laos, Shoua Vang looked forward each year to the Hmong New Year celebration when she could take a break from her daily chores and enjoy good food in the company of family and close friends.

Now that she’s living in Sheboygan with her husband and three children, Vang said it’s important to her that her children learn to appreciate their culture’s customs as well by celebrating the holiday, which many in the Hmong culture now celebrate during the week of Thanksgiving.

And that’s what her eldest daughter did on Tuesday at the Early Learning Center, one of many schools in Sheboygan to incorporate other customs into their school-wide Thanksgiving celebrations.

“It’s good that they do that,” Vang said. “I love it so much because they just love different cultures.”

Two different groups of about 80 students each sat down together for the school’s decade-old Thanksgiving Feast tradition, where students are invited to bring a dish from home to represent the diversity of the school’s students.

“They (teachers) really have gotten away from focusing on turkey and our traditional Thanksgiving meal, I think, because we have so many different cultures here,” said Principal Pam Kugi. “It’s very important for the children to learn about the other cultures and that not one culture is better than another.”

In the week leading up to the Thanksgiving Feast, teachers gave lessons on various cultures’ holiday practices and talked to students about how food is a common thread among them, said Kugi.

“No matter what culture you’re in, eating together is always a celebration that families do and cultures do,” Kugi said. “No matter what culture you come from, that is the one thing that kind of links the holidays.”

About 15 schools in the district also received a visit on Monday from the Hmong Leadership Council, comprised of Hmong students attending North and South high schools.

During the tour, which serves as a precursor to the city-wide Hmong New Year celebration held Saturday and Sunday at North High School, members of the Hmong Leadership Council wore traditional attire and performed original dances and storytelling routines to raise awareness of this weekend’s celebration and help others celebrate the New Year holiday.

Vang and her family will have their own New Year celebration as well, but on Thursday, in a fashion that’s not so different from what thousands of others across America do on Thanksgiving Day. Vang said she and her family will enjoy a meal of turkey, supplemented by some of her family’s traditional Hmong favorites like egg rolls and fried rice.

On that day, like so many others, Vang said she’ll have an opportunity to once again take a repreive from her normal daily routines and enjoy time with her family.

“I’m looking forward to that day,” Vang said. “It’s always my favorite holiday.”

— Reach Kali Thiel at 920-453-5134

Hmong New Year celebration

When: 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 29, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 30.

Where: North High School gymnasium.

Admission: Free

For more information: Go online to the Hmong Mutual Assistance Association web site at

at 7:58 am

Red Clay District Priority School plans taking shape

Posted by in School

After refusing to sign onto a state plan to turn around three low-scoring Wilmington schools, Red Clay School District officials have crafted an alternative that removes or reduces some controversial details.

Gone are mandatory $160,000 salaries for new school leaders and an explicit requirement every teacher reapply for his or her job.

Still intact is a strategy to exempt the schools from most district rules, allow them to manage their own budgets and give them flexibility to change things like the school calender, hours and curriculum.

The district is hoping its proposal is approved before the end of the year, when state officials could choose to shut down the schools or hand them over to charters or other outside operators.

“We’ve been able to work collaboratively with the Department of Education and our school communities to come up with a plan that we think is in the best interest of these schools and their students,” Deputy Superintendent Hugh Broomall said.

District officials caution that the proposal is only a draft and could change after discussions between the School Board and the Department of Education, both of which must approve it.

In September, Gov. Jack Markell and other state officials announced that six city schools would receive a total of $5.8 million and be given flexibility to develop individual plans to improve student performance. The schools are Red Clay’s Warner, Shortlidge and Highlands Elementary and Christina’s Bancroft and Stubbs Elementary and Bayard Middle.

The state had asked districts to sign rules requiring them to, among other things, pay principals a minimum of $160,000 and force every teacher to reapply for their jobs. After an outcry from parents and teachers, both districts rejected those rules and decided to go to their school communities to write new proposals.

Christina is still working with school communities to work out its own version, spokeswoman Wendy Lapham said.

A series of meetings are scheduled for each of Christina’s targeted schools next week.

Red Clay officials’ draft proposal places school leaders on the district’s regular salary schedule.

The proposal also does not explicitly require every teacher re-apply for their jobs, as the state’s did. That was a sticking point for teachers who argued it blamed them for low test scores when the real problem is poverty, violence and other factors outside their control.

The plan requires any teachers to sign onto their school’s individual plan. If the district decides to transfer a staff member, they would need to do so based on the state’s teacher evaluation system, the teacher’s “commitment to the school plan” and observations by the principal and district officials.

All teachers would be paid extra if the school plan requires extra teaching time for things like an extended school day.

Members of the Red Clay Education Association teachers’ union, which fiercely opposed the state’s proposal, are encouraged that the district’s proposal doesn’t force everyone to re-apply. But its members still need to see more details, President Mike Matthews said.

“There is still plenty of work that needs to be done to come to an agreement that respects the teaching profession,” Matthews said.

Broomall said the district needs to iron out an agreement with the union that would determine what happens if a teacher wants to stay at one of the Priority Schools but the school leader or district doesn’t think they would be a good fit.

Broomall encouraged anyone in the affected schools’ communities to read the plan and reach out to the district if they have concerns.

Department of Education spokeswoman Alison May said the department would not comment until a final version is officially submitted, but said the state has worked with Red Clay throughout the process.

Contact Matthew Albright at, 324-2428 or on Twitter @TNJ_malbright.

at 1:58 am

Bullying Bloomberg Mommies Want To Start Thanksgiving Fights

Anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s social media campaigns Moms Demand Action and Everytown for Gun Safety wants you to bring their shrill bullying to your family and friends this Thanksgiving.

Moms Demand Thanksgiving Fights! The dour bullies of the gun control group want you to badger your family members and friends with anti-gun propaganda this Thanksgiving. Go ahead. Dine alone.

We’re thankful that our family and friends are too knowledgeable to be fooled by such silliness, and doubt anyone else will, either.

Shannon Watts is behind this Thanksgiving turkey.

The campaign is reminiscent of the “pajama boy” campaign for Obamacare that was so roundly mocked in 2013 for trying similar distasteful tactics.

November 27, 2014 at 7:58 pm

Local 4-H club makes promise not to bully

Local 4-H club makes promise not to bully

Local 4-H club makes promise not to bully

Homeschoolers on the Teche 4-H Club, consisting of local home-school students, take the Pinky Promise Against Bullying Instagram Challenge recently. The 4-H’ers took part in the statewide effort to stand against bullying.

Posted: Thursday, November 27, 2014 6:00 am

Local 4-H club makes promise not to bully


The Daily Iberian


Homeschoolers on the Teche 4-H Club recently took a stance against bullying by accepting the Pinky Promise Against Bullying Instagram Challenge.

The challenge, part of an effort to promote a stance against bullying sponsored by the LSU AgCenter, is open to any 4-H club in Louisiana.

“People are aware of bullying and people are bullying more now than they were before, so it would make sense to take this pledge,” said Homeschoolers on the Teche 4-H club Community Service Chairwoman Brittney Watson. “It’s a pledge to say if we see bullying we’re going to do more to stop it. Our club promised anytime we see it happening we would stop it.”

Watson said she has dealt with her own bullying experiences in the past. She noted after finding out she had scoliosis people would make rude comments.

“I’ve had some people bully me before,” she said. “It’s not always a ‘knock-you-down’ thing anymore. It’s more emotional. I’ve never been one to be bullied, but I haven’t always been home-schooled.”

Watson, 18, is the oldest member of the club. She said it’s important the club set an example on taking a stance against bullying, which she says is more prevalent today due to social media.

To spread their message to a larger audience, the challenge has been put on Instagram. Any club submitting an image must show their pinkies and wear the color orange — the designated color of bullying prevention.

The caption for the Instagram post must include the phrase “we pledge against bullying,” with the “4hpinkypromise” hashtag.

Club members decided to make their contest entry with an image of the club locking pinkies behind their backs using every member, but it was the actions of one member that made club secretary Katie Magar truly appreciate the message they were sending.

Magar, 16, said a few members did not have on any orange attire — the color designated for bullying prevention. Instead of ostracizing the individuals and not including them in the photo, fellow club members provided extra orange clothing so they could be included in the picture.

“That’s really what it’s all about,” Magar said. “I think that act was very beautiful to me. Someone stepped up and it showed a great sense of involvement.”

Magar added that bullying is constantly spread through social media and hopes the “pinky promise Instagram challenge” will help spread a more positive message.

“We’re just trying to motivate each other. I have three little brothers, so this is important to me personally. If you are the bully take responsibility … If this is happening in your community take a stance,” Magar said.

Competition entries must be posted by Dec. 19.


Thursday, November 27, 2014 6:00 am.

at 7:57 pm

As the World Burns, UN General Assembly Takes on Bullying

The world is in flames, Christians beheaded all over the Middle East, much of that region in anarchic chaos, increased nuclear saber-rattling from Russia, many parts of the world crippled economically, hundreds of thousands dying from malaria, and a billion people cannot get a clean glass of drinking water. Yet this week, the United Nations General Assembly took up bullying.

The first ever stand-alone anti-bullying resolution passed the General Assembly on Monday, Stefano Gennarini, who covers the General Assembly for the Center for Family Human Rights (C-Fam), reported in the group’s weekly Friday Fax report.

Gennarini writes, “Once the resolution was adopted by consensus, countries behind it wasted no time in making their intentions known.” The European Union said, “We regret that bullying because of the sexual orientation and gender identity of children or their parents was not reflected in the resolution.” The first draft of the resolution included language about sexual orientation, but it was removed in negotiations. 

The United States delegation said the Secretary General’s report that is mandated by the resolution must reflect the “health concerns of LGBT youth.”

The bullying resolution was a stalking horse for the ongoing attempts to introduce “sexual orientation and gender identity” as a new category of non-discrimination in international human rights law on par with established categories like freedom of religion. The issue regularly roils the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council in Geneva. 

As expected, the Africans pushed back. One delegate told Gennarini that currently, there is “no consensus on sexual orientation and gender identity” in the General Assembly and that his country had more serious issues with which to contend.

at 7:57 pm

Oklahoma teens walk out of school to protest bullying Students protest …

(CNN) — Hundreds of students walked out of their Oklahoma high school Monday to protest the school’s response to the alleged bullying of three classmates who say they were raped by the same person.

The students were greeted outside Norman High School by parents and other members of the community who had gathered to support them, junior Sophia Babb told CNN. Together, the crowd waved signs and chanted “No justice, no class” and “No more bullying.”

Their message to the world: it could be your daughter.

The protest stemmed from allegations by three female Norman High School students who say classmates bullied them mercilessly after they were raped in separate instances by the same person. The teens and their families say school administrators failed to take adequate action after they reported the rapes and bullying.

Their story spread across social media after Jezebel published a detailed account Friday.

No one has been arrested or charged yet, Norman Police Department Captain Tom Easley told CNN. An investigation began a month ago, and no details will be released until it concludes. A Norman High School spokesperson had not returned CNN’s request for comment by publication time.

In a letter to the school community, Norman Public Schools Superintendent Joe Siano encouraged parents to talk to their children about alternatives to the walkout, such as wearing stickers and ribbons provided by the school “in symbolic support.”

He also said the school was enlarging a task force to study the implementation of a “targeted, research-based sexual assault curriculum for students,” and that the school will continue to respond quickly to reports of sexual assault and bullying.

The three teens told Jezebel that they stopped attending classes and left school voluntarily after the teasing became unbearable. Friends of the teens started a Facebook page, YES ALL Daughters, two weeks ago to show support for them, Babb said. They were fed up with classmates blaming the teens for the attacks, she said.

“You could see it all over social media, the victim blaming,” Babb said in a phone call after the protest.

The page drew nearly 10,000 likes in two weeks. With the help of their mothers and relatives, they organized Monday’s protest.

“After hearing the story we felt compelled to help the kids do something,” said Stacie Wright, whose niece started the Facebook page.

The group posted a long list of “Protest Do(s) and Don’t(s)” on its Facebook page to make the event a peaceful one: DO Be Peaceful, Law-Abiding Citizens that do not disturb local businesses, DO Be a Good Neighbor; Do NOT Respond to any negativity, Do NOT Use profanity.

The Daily Oklahoman reported the crowd of protesters Monday was in the hundreds. But organizers estimated that 1,500 attended the protest outside the school, which has an enrollment of about 1,800 students.

“It shows that students won’t put up with this harassment and bullying,” Babb said. “We stand in solidarity with all victims and we want to show that we support them.”

at 7:57 pm

Jayda won, but they hide documents

A teenaged girl who took a stand against racial discrimination at Bellevue Schools faces a new opponent: the nuances of the criminal justice system.

But Jayda Jackson, 16, whose family settled a lawsuit with the district in July, isn’t done fighting.

A federal court judge, a court reporter and even her own lawyers refuse to provide crucial court documents to her family, citing a protective order filed just recently.

Until this week — after repeated requests for court documents from Jayda and the Register — there was no evidence the order even existed.

The document, filed Tuesday, is dated March 13.

Lawyers representing Bellevue Schools and Jayda’s family apparently agreed to the protective order in March, without Jayda’s knowledge, but didn’t submit the document for filing until Tuesday.

“The lawyers were acting on behalf of their clients,” said U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge James Knepp II on Wednesday.

The agreement let school officials speak freely about Bellevue Schools students — likely Jayda’s alleged bullies — because it ensured their identities would never be publicly released.

Knepp cited the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA, as justification for the order.

Legally, it’s possible the documents Jayda requested could be redacted and then released, but it’s not likely, he said.

“I can’t, in good conscience, order anyone to go back through and sanitize the names from those depositions,” Knepp said. “It’s not an efficient use of anyone’s time.”

Knepp told the Register he’s never read the depositions, but he assumes they contain “great measures of FERPA-protected material.”

When contacted earlier this month, court reporter Brenda Roberts, as well as attorneys Jayda’s family hired — Sandusky-based attorney Robert Zelvey and Cleveland-based attorneys Audrey and David Forrest — all referred the Register to Knepp for information about the protective order.

All cited the order as their justification, but none could produce a copy of it.

Earlier this year, Jayda told the Register a key motivator for settling her case without going to trial was assurance no court documents would be kept secret.

Her goal: obtain evidence to back up her claims of race-related bullying at Bellevue Schools.

On Monday, she said she’d never heard of or agreed to a protective order regarding the lawsuit.

Because her family paid their attorneys, she believes depositions from her lawsuit are her rightful property, she said.

The Register asked to meet with Bellevue Schools administrators this week, seeking comment, and superintendent Kim Schubert denied the request.


Coming this weekend

Jayda Jackson isn’t done battling for what she believes in — this time, her right to view crucial court documents from her family’s settled lawsuit.

The Sandusky High School junior sat down with a Register reporter Monday to share the latest chapters of her story.

“I’m trying to rebuild myself,” she said, ”but at the same time, I know something’s not right, and it’s eating away at me.”

Pick up a copy of Sunday’s Register, and check back at, for more updates.

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US judge puts Arizona’s ‘revenge porn’ bill on hold

By David Schwartz

PHOENIX (Reuters) – A U.S. judge on Wednesday put on hold enforcement of Arizona’s “revenge porn” law that made it a felony to post online nude images of others without their consent, after a rights group said the measure was too broad and state attorneys agreed it should be revisited.

    U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton’s order came at the request of the state attorney general’s office and the American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing booksellers, newspapers and others in a federal lawsuit against the law.

    The judge called for enforcement of the law and further legal proceedings to be put on hold pending possible changes to the legislation by the Republican-controlled state Legislature when it reconvenes in January. 

“We hope that the legislature will embrace this opportunity to narrow the law so it reaches truly bad actors without infringing on protected First Amendment rights,” Dan Pochoda, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, said in a statement.

    A spokeswoman for the state Attorney General’s Office could not immediately be reached for comment.

    Backers said the law, which was signed by Governor Jan Brewer in April and took effect in July, was designed to crack down on attempts by people to humiliate former lovers, among others, by publishing images without the consent of a nude person or an individual engaged in sexual activities.

    The ACLU filed suit in federal court in Phoenix in September, arguing the law would criminalize speech that was protected by the U.S. Constitution.     

    Civil rights attorneys said the law would put at risk anyone who distributed or displayed a nude image, including images that were newsworthy, artistic, educational or artistic.

    Violators face a possible sentence of 18 months in prison, a penalty that could be increased to 2 1/2 years if the person shown in the images can be recognized.    

    Last year, California Governor Jerry Brown signed the first law in the country specifically targeting revenge porn. New Jersey has an older law that allows prosecution of revenge porn, but it was passed as a wide-reaching cyber-bullying statute.

(Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Peter Cooney)

at 7:57 pm

Pennsylvania says feds bullying it over trooper physical fitness test, wants …

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania — Pennsylvania has accused the federal government of browbeating it over the physical fitness tests administered to trooper candidates, insisting it remains committed to recruiting women into the state police force.

The state asked a federal judge in Harrisburg to throw out a lawsuit filed last summer by the U.S. Department of Justice. The lawsuit said the use of the fitness tests to screen and select applicants amounts to a pattern of employment discrimination and has illegally kept dozens of otherwise qualified women out of jobs.

The Pennsylvania State Police has made “strong affirmative efforts to recruit qualified women to join the trooper ranks … and will continue this commitment, independently of any hectoring by the United States through this or any other form of legal action,” the state said in a legal brief filed Monday.

The government’s lawsuit said that nearly 100 percent of male recruits pass the initial physical readiness tests while about 70 percent of female recruits pass. About 5 percent of the department’s 4,700 sworn members are women.

The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division argued that the different pass rates for men and women were evidence the tests had a disparate impact on women. It seeks an order preventing the state police from engaging in discriminatory employment practices as well as back pay and other remedies for women who did not pass the test.

The state, in its response, denied there’s a gross statistical disparity between the pass rates for men and women, noting that under the federal government’s own standard the pass rate for women should be 80 percent of the pass rate for men. The state also said the government had no legal authority to bring the case.

at 1:57 pm

Scammer leaves threatening voicemail bullying business

INDIO, Calif. –

“You’ll be the first one I sue for violation of the fricken clean water act,” said a scammer on a voicemail sent to Chandi Group USA, a company that owns many Arco’s and AMPMs in the Coachella Valley.

“I don’t know what kind of crap you’re doing lady but don’t ever call my office like that again. The first time you violate the law I swear to God I follow set a lawsuit against you,” said the scammer on the voicemail who only left the name Brian.

Employees with Chandi Group USA have been receiving bogus $81 invoices for future sewer monitoring and leak detection for years.

“One of our associates realized that this is a repetitive yearly thing that we get and we’ve gone through this before. That’s when we understood this is not a legitimate invoice, that it’s a scam,” say Eileen Salazar a Person Assistant with Chandi Group USA.

A company that calls itself Network Sewer Monitoring System (NPS), which uses a post office box in Tustin, CA, is sending out notices to food service businesses throughout Southern California, requiring them to complete an enclosed “activation form’ while billing them $81 for “1 year lateral sewer monitoring and leak detection”.

Officials said there’s some additional technical jargon meant to mislead the business into believing the information is legitimate.

The false mandate has been titled ‘July 1, 2009 Grease/Solvent Waste Management Initiative’, with NPS claiming its $680 device has to be installed at any business selling food products.

“We called them back to verify who they spoke to that way we could contact our management team and verify so we can place payment with this. When we call them they were very vague and didn’t have any information available. They told us to call back it was very sketchy. It had scam written all over it,” said Salazar.

KESQ called NPS and a man on the phone told us this, “I’ve worked here 11 years. It never happened, the attorney Mike Michaels will be happy to call you back.”

If your business is contacted by NPS, or other companies making similar claims, never give out any personal or business-related information, send money or grant permission to install any equipment on adjacent sewer lines, officials said in the release.

If you think you’ve been contacted by this scam artist, or any others, you should retain the billing information or any additional paperwork you receive, and then call police or the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.

If you have questions about applicable regulations associated with sewage removal, you can always call the Coachella Valley Water District at (760) 398-2651.

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Yik Yak app condemned for promoting bullying

(WXYZ) – Even though a lot of parents may not have heard about it, at Wayne State University, students are very familiar with the Yik Yak app and it’s uses, both good and bad.

In fact, videos posted to YouTube warn about offensive, sexist, racist and homophobic posts made anonymously on the app.

Recently, someone took it a step further by posting a bomb threat at Michigan State University. The bomb scare was a hoax but still has many worried.

“You can send certain messages to anyone, who knows what you’re sending or where it’s from” says Oli Beaidsall, a personal trainer at Wayne State University.

But the guys behind the app still promote heavily on social media and even throw parties like a recent one at U of M. Since its start, it’s become wildly popular on high school and college campuses.

One reason is that people can post anything anonymously.

“People like to post mean things about each other and it’s anonymous so it’s a perfect way to do it,” says student Alex Romano. Beaidsall adds “I would have thought it would be more for fun, but when it’s anonymous it’s open for things a bit more shady.”

Parents are now looking closer into what their kids read and post.

“There’s definitely bullying, I’ve seen stuff of people being called out and I live near a high school and can see stuff those kids post that are outrageous things about people,” says WSU Junior Maddie Rista. 


at 1:57 pm

Which social network is the worst for bullying?

This week is Anti-Bullying Week in the UK, coordinated by the Anti-Bullying Alliance.

Gone are the days of bullying stopping at the school gates. The everything everywhere nature of social media often makes it difficult for people to escape their tormentors.

And it’s not just children, adults can be bullied too – this year’s Anti-Bullying week theme is “Let’s stop bullying for all”.

Anti-Bullying Week

Last year we spoke to Luke Roberts from the Anti-Bullying Alliance on the rise and impact of cyber-bullying.

He spoke to us about how smartphones and tablets allow someone to post something online immediately, wherever they are, without them necessarily giving enough thought to the implications of what they write.

This year we want to hear from you – we want to know which social network you think is the worst for bullying.

Perhaps you think that’s where most online bullying occurs, maybe you think it doesn’t do enough to stop bullies, or you may have first hand experience of bullying taking place on a particular social network.

We have 50 T-shirts to giveaway as a thanks to those who take part – just leave your email address at the end of the survey, and we’ll pick the winners out of a hat.

Take the survey

If you’ve got children, here are 7 apps and websites parents should be aware of.

And, if you think someone close to you is being bullied, or is bullying someone else, Luke Roberts from the Anti-Bullying Alliance offered some tips on how to help.

at 7:57 am

Which social network is the worst for bullying? [POLL]

This week is Anti-Bullying Week in the UK, coordinated by the Anti-Bullying Alliance.

Gone are the days of bullying stopping at the school gates. The everything everywhere nature of social media often makes it difficult for people to escape their tormentors.

And it’s not just children, adults can be bullied too – this year’s Anti-Bullying week theme is “Let’s stop bullying for all”.

Anti-Bullying Week

Last year we spoke to Luke Roberts from the Anti-Bullying Alliance on the rise and impact of cyber-bullying.

He spoke to us about how smartphones and tablets allow someone to post something online immediately, wherever they are, without them necessarily giving enough thought to the implications of what they write.

This year we want to hear from you – we want to know which social network you think is the worst for bullying.

Perhaps you think that’s where most online bullying occurs, maybe you think it doesn’t do enough to stop bullies, or you may have first hand experience of bullying taking place on a particular social network.

We have 50 T-shirts to giveaway as a thanks to those who take part – just leave your email address at the end of the survey, and we’ll pick the winners out of a hat.

Take the survey

If you’ve got children, here are 7 apps and websites parents should be aware of.

And, if you think someone close to you is being bullied, or is bullying someone else, Luke Roberts from the Anti-Bullying Alliance offered some tips on how to help.

at 7:57 am

Sioux City Students Learn How To Combat Bullying

Kids at East Middle School in Sioux City were treated to a special presentation on Wednesday about how to combat bullying.

Kim Karr, the co-founder of the anti-bullying campaign “I Can Help” talked to students about how negative posts online effects the morale of the person they are targeting.

Members of the campaign told kids to respond to negative comments with kindness and to ask for negative comments or pages about people to be removed. When students were asked to raise their hands if they’d experienced online bullying, nearly everyone raised their hands, which surprised some students.

 “I find that really surprising because most of these people i know and i wouldn’t really think of them getting picked on and stuff,” said Aman Dean, 8th grader.

“I thought it just affected a small portion of the school but i actually found out it effected a lot of people here,” Christian Clark, 8th grader.

East Middle School has also started their own anti- bullying club to help with any negativity that may go on at the school.