October 30, 2014 at 1:38 pm

It’s time we finally acted against school bullying

Time and time again we have read about school bullying and the need to stop it. Yet once again school bullying has made the national news. Sayreville is a small town that could be anywhere in the U.S.

School bullying has been around for years, and each time we say it has to stop and we need to address it. Yet six months down the line here we go again. It’s time that this country stops talking and takes action.

We need to examine all the issues and do our best to keep our children safe. No child should have to be subjected to any type of bullying. As a nation we need to stand up and do what we can and not depend on anyone else.

Praises go to the students who came forward; we need more fine young men and woman to do the same. As parents and community members we must learn to listen to our children and to let them know that we care and are there for them. Don’t wait for someone else to take the steps needed. Take the first steps yourself. Actions speak louder than words.

The people of Sayreville have learned an important lesson. The attitude that nothing bad ever happens is gone. Let’s all join together and learn the lesson as well.

Karen Burghardt


Although the Democratic Party better represents their interests, Southern whites have been duped into voting Republican, a letter writer claims.

Women not as weak as Dems believe

OK, enough of the lies already. Over and over, the left talks about the right having a war on women. Here is the truth.

We believe women are not weak as the Democratic Party insists they are. Even the president wants to set up a program where women can survive only because they depend on the government every step of the way. How ridiculous. Women survived and pulled their families kicking and screaming with them before they even had a say in government.

As for abortion, yes, the left works for the woman’s rights to her own body and the destruction of any fetus she might conceive.

The right fight is for the fetus — the only completely innocent party. Even in rape or incest, the fetus did not do the raping, nor have sex with the woman.

If you want a real war on women, go to the Middle East. Swap your tight short skirts for a burka, have your genitalia mutilated, try to relax under a government that says there must be five witnesses to prove rape.

If you want a political party that may have a few things against women, check the Democrats, who were the most vicious in attacks not only on Sarah Palin, but her daughters as well. Not one of them gasped at the hypocrisy. How about a Democratic president that used the Oval Office for a sex pit with an intern?

I’ll take the right’s war over the left’s any day of the week.

Margie DiGiovanni


Voter ‘action’ has been to do nothing

Congress has become a dysfunctional and ineffective body unable to perform its constitutional duties. Voters are angry and ready to take action.

By “take action,” I mean more than half won’t even bother to vote. And those who do vote will overwhelmingly re-elect the incumbents and compound the dysfunction by electing even more Republican obstructionists.

To quote Pogo, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” Or, as Forrest Gump put it more succinctly: “Stupid is as stupid does.”

John H. Burgess


A letter writer often disagrees with Josh Moon, but says the Advertiser columnist is right about the attorney general’s wrong-headed stance

Moon correct to take AG to task

Josh Moon, last week I excoriated you for your column regarding your dubious claim of infringement of voters’ rights. In fairness I take keyboard in hand to applaud Sunday’s column.

We as both a country and a society are constantly evolving and part of that evolution is recognizing the lifestyles and rights of people we don’t necessarily agree with, but who have won their rights through due process. Our attorney general fails to grasp this.

Once again he is taking an indefensible, politically motivated stance at the expense of Alabama taxpayers. You were correct to take him to task.

Bud Hemphill



at 7:38 am

Little Rock Family: Bullying, what’s a parent to do?

October is National Bullying Awareness month so THV11 has been talking with Little Rock Family magazine each week about in-depth information about bullying.


at 1:38 am

Bullying: ‘It will Never Go Away’



In conjunction with National Anti-Bullying Month, students at Cardinal O’Hara High School recently participated in an assembly on the topic. The one-hour program was presented by Dr. Claudio Cerullo, founder and executive director of Teach Anti Bullying Inc. and Daniela Redpath, director of operations and programs.

“No matter where you go, this problem is taking lives,” said Cerullo. “We need to figure out how to resolve it, because it will never go away.”

Founded in 2011, Teach Anti Bullying Inc. is dedicated to educating families, teachers, students and community leaders on the awareness and prevention of bullying. Characterized as a silent threat that each year makes more than 200,000 children afraid to attend school, the organization strives to curb the issue through a collaborative effort to change the way violence and bullying are viewed.

Defined on stopbullying.gov as “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance,” Cerullo noted bullying is marked by its duration, frequency, intensity and power base.

Quoting national statistics gathered from interviews with 44 million students in grades K-12, he noted 53 percent reported they had bullied another student, 65 percent indicated they had been bullied and 59 percent stated they had given and received the unwanted behavior.

“A bully wants to take something away from you,” said Cerullo. “It causes students to think about dropping out of school, hurting someone at school or taking their own lives.”

Whether physical, verbal, cyber or through relationships, bullying occurs in ways such as bodily harm, taunts, threats, extortion, exclusion and harassment. A survey of 74,000 high school students found nearly two-thirds of bullying occurred online, one-third in the classroom and 15 percent on the school bus.

Cerullo included himself and his family among the figures he cited. The son of Italian immigrants who was enrolled in ESL classes, the names hurled at him often began with ethnic slurs and his nose and front teeth were broken.

Cerullo, who opened his talk by asking for a show of hands of students who were “victims, bystanders, bullies or up-standers,” closed by encouraging them to take a pro-active stance. Similar to one founded 18 months ago at Monsignor Bonner and Archbishop Prendergast High School, he suggested students consider forming an anti-bullying club.

“Think about what you have said and will say to one another,” said Cerullo. “You should have respect for yourself and one another — you have choices and will get more respect if you try to help.”

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at 1:38 am

We Aren’t Doing Enough to Stop Bullying

The Problem

It’s October, the official Anti-Bullying Awareness month, and the problem is still as present as ever.

Bullying, the all too familiar situation that can lead to fatal scenarios, is a problem that has yet to be tackled appropriately over the years. Data presented by CHI, Child Helpline International, gives credit to the idea that bullying has not been decreasing in the last decade. The cause behind this lack of change is the reality that too many people are talking about bullying, but not enough are doing anything about it.

The fact that bullying is very rarely touched upon in schools is a frightening one. In New York, for example, one of the few means to prevent bullying in public schools is the distribution of the Citywide Standards of Intervention and Discipline Measures handbook that is required to be read in class. This handbook is given minimal attention throughout schools, with students tossing it aside and making paper airplanes out of the pages. Such an insufficient method of bullying prevention in schools doesn’t avail itself to the attitude of children and young adults to facilitate change.

Hundreds of millions of dollars have been devoted to bullying prevention, with $132 million devoted by the government, under the U.S. Education Department’s “Successful, Safe, and Healthy Students” program. But even at that price tag, the problem still flourishes. Clearly, the anti-bullying methods we’ve used are ineffective and in need of reform. Instead of passive rule making, it’s time for active emotional education on a wide-scale basis in our nation’s schools. A common attitude toward bullying has been that it stems from the inability of the bully to perceive the emotions of the victim. Many schools have zero-tolerance policies toward bullying, but when someone is found to have been teasing, name-calling or even physically hurting another student, more emphasis is placed on the punishment. Questions like “why did you do that?” are asked more often than “how do you think that made the other person feel?”

I have been exposed to a large variety of proposed solutions to the problem of bullying and cyberbullying. Some, more extreme ones, have been to attack the social networks that allow harmful messages to be sent (e.g. ban Facebook use among students). Then there’s stealth monitoring of social platforms (e.g. teachers combing through status updates and photos). Another tactic clings to the philosophy to “let kids be kids,” stating that bullying at a young age teaches children to be self-reliant. Obviously, this is not a positive outlook on a serious issue, one that has factored into the deaths of many people. These proposed solutions take a back-seat to educational outreach. It is common to say that knowledge is power; education can be employed as a vital tool. There have been many situations where educational outreach is used as a means to stop bullying.

What Needs To Be Done

Yale professor Marc Brackett, an expert on juvenile behavior, promotes the use of the RULER approach to combat bullying; his technique, unlike most others, focuses on the need for emotional intelligence and ability to perceive and anticipate others’ feelings. The bullying epidemic has reached such a level that multiple summer camps across the country are dedicated to teaching cooperation and collaboration within social groups. These programs, such as The H.E.R.O. (Helping, Encourage Respect Others) Summer Camp, are as much preventative as they are reformist — providing the essential emotional touchstones to function in group dynamics within younger age groups. Here is a link to a short description of Montgomery Middle School’s branch of the program.

Presentations by advocacy groups and peers are also vital to curbing the tendency for bullying to arise. Voicing these topics in presenting scenarios and analyzing the mindset of the bully and victim allows for a comprehensive understanding of the feelings at play. The ability for children to see these situations in an objective manner without being on either side of the equation in real life allows them to formulate the sentimental tools to better handle such an occurrence.

The prevention of bullying requires constant upkeep in schools with educational programs that stress conflict resolution and respect rather than punishment. The old school threat of the principal’s office or detention has been outdated in the sense that it can’t control as well what happens after hours outside of school when social networks provide an unmonitored conduit for abusive communication. The instantaneous access kids have parallels their instantaneous aggression in a dangerous combination where username targets are a click away. It is for this reason that the measures we take to prevent bullying through education need to be all the more emphasized.

The passive act of disseminating pamphlets with rules and regulations does not instruct kids as to the severe consequences bullying can have. By contrast, the more proactive approach of working through scenarios and identifying problematic behaviors can allow individuals to police themselves and keep their peers in check with support. This way, an abusive online communication can be defused, and an in-person stand-off calmed.


at 1:38 am

Houston sixth-grader writes book to help her overcome bullying



October 29, 2014 at 7:38 pm

Austin schools address bullying – Post

Posted: Wednesday, October 29, 2014 10:41 am

Austin schools address bullying

Joe Kroc, Austin Public Schools

Post-Bulletin Company, LLC

The negative impact of bullying continues to affect student’s self-esteem, attendance and academic achievement. Austin Public Schools are striving to educate students on bullying by teaching ways to prevent bullying and demonstrating appropriate responses for victims and bystanders.

October is Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights’ (PACER) National Bullying Prevention Month. PACER created the campaign in 2006 with a one-week event which has now evolved into a month-long effort that encourages everyone to take an active role in the bullying prevention movement. Austin Public Schools used October to intensify anti-bullying efforts to continue to educate students, parents and the community on the topic of bullying. Below are some of the events that took place in the Austin Public Schools.

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      Wednesday, October 29, 2014 10:41 am.


      at 7:38 pm

      Bullying extends beyond school boundaries

      Posted: Tuesday, October 28, 2014 11:00 pm

      Bullying extends beyond school boundaries

      By Harold Reutter


      Everybody knows about school bullying.

      But former Walnut Middle School Principal Vikki Deuel says people should get just as informed about workplace bullying.

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      Tuesday, October 28, 2014 11:00 pm.

      | Tags:

      Vikki Deuel,

      Bullying In The Workplace,

      Ywca Of Grand Island


      at 7:38 pm

      Bullies Outside the Classroom

      Should Schools Regulate Student’s Off-Campus Behavior?


      Hold Children Responsible for Their Actions

      Comment From Franklin Schargel

      Children need to be held responsible for their actions. And while the punishments need to be age-appropriate, they also need to be meaningful to the children. Schools working with parents need to determine a ladder of punishments for improper actions. Among the privileges children could lose might include being removed from band and the football team, and not being allowed to attend school activities such as the prom. These rules should be shared with the students and their parents.

      First Figure Out Why Kids Bully

      Comment From Stina Gumminos

      In the United States, it is assumed that children do bully, simply because they do. Maybe I have this completely wrong, or it could be a collision between different cultures, but I am from Sweden, and here we ask ourselves: Why do children bully? How can we make people more aware that this is simply not O.K., in any shape or form? Rather than discussing whether or not schools should regulate off-campus behavior, we should try to figure out why these kids bully, and how to make them understand that it is wrong. Problems needs to be fixed, not regulated.

      Schools Must Step in Early

      Comment From David Mainwaring

      Online bullying (and bullying in general) definitely has an academic effect and will pose problems when the pupil is constantly immersed in a bullying environment. To believe otherwise is naive. If schools simply stepped in and intervened before most cases spiraled out of control, we probably wouldn’t have so many dead teenage bully victims.

      Kids Learn to Bully From Adults

      Comment From Ruth O’Neill

      As a teacher in South Australia I can tell you we do monitor out-of-school online bullying as best we can. Students are told to take screen shots and report it as harassment at school. If the perpetrator is a student then they are given a meeting to try and solve the conflict or detention or suspension depending on the severity. If it’s extreme then the police may be called. We also work with our middle school students to teach them resilience to help them overcome bullying and offer some tips for avoiding conflict, such as not adding random friends to Facebook.

      My personal view is that bullying starts with adults. Most bullies are kids with problems such as overly strict parents, lack of parenting, feelings of powerless or siblings that bully. Kids are a product of their environment and adults need to teach them kindness and tolerance.

      Teach a Class on Internet Safety and Decorum

      Comment From Khalilah L. Brown-Dean

      Schools should promote healthy interactions between students that strikes an appropriate balance between protecting civil liberties and promoting student safety. Internet safety and decorum are as essential to promoting a student’s well-being as requiring physical education and health classes. Many schools have integrated technology into their curricula, and it’s irresponsible not to include a component that emphasizes conduct. Most colleges and universities require students to sign a student code of conduct that governs their behavior on and off campus. You don’t stop being part of a campus community simply because you step outside of its gates.

      Schools Have No Authority Off Campus

      Comment From Lilian Grae

      The domain of school stops after the last bell rings. Unless the Internet activity is being done on school time or in the classroom as an extracurricular activity, the school has no authority with what students do outside of school.

      Off-Campus Behavior Is the School’s Responsibility

      Comment From Allison Kanter Agliata

      Although off-campus behavior is not typically the responsibility of the school, it is crucial that we educate our students on how to be good digital citizens. Understanding how to conduct oneself online and within social media is vital to both their academic and social-emotional success, so there is no question as to whether educational institutions have an obligation to address this topic. Additionally, if a social conflict takes place off-campus, but the repercussions bleed into school interactions, the school still has a right and responsibility to take action, even if it is simply support or education on how to handle the situation. At the heart of every decision should be what is best for the child and anything we can do to guide them through a difficult circumstance is key to developing happy, well-adjusted and productive citizens.

      Don’t Regulate, Hold People Responsible

      Comment From Peter Kobs

      Regulating online behavior off campus is clearly impossible, both technically and in terms of the human resources required to do it. Such regulation also sends a chilling message to young people that censorship by authority is proper, which clearly isn’t true under the First Amendment. But even free speech comes with consequences. Let’s make those consequences clear to all — and then enforce them consistently, rapidly and openly for all to see. There’s a world of difference between “regulating behavior” and “holding people responsible for their actions” after the behavior is done. You’re free to swing your fist in the air, but when your fist hits my nose, be prepared for some harsh consequences.

      Empower Children to Stand Up for Themselves

      Comment From Mia Schmeltzer Beck

      A code of conduct is good, but we don’t need more rules. A child being bullied needs to be empowered to deal with the situation. They need social skills to stand up for themselves in an assertive, kind and calm way. They need to learn how to rise above the bullying. Right now we are failing to educate our children in how to handle unpleasant people in person and online. They are taught to tell a teacher who will then fix the situation and as a result we have fostered a new generation of emotional marshmallows who depend on other people fixing their problems.

      Focus on Communal Solutions Bullying

      Comment From Joy Modenbach

      As an elementary school principal I observe the blame game quite often. Bullying is not just one group in the community’s problem, it is a societal issue, involving all groups. Having a team approach will help stop the epidemic. Cyberbullying is especially cruel because of the ability to save every picture, comment and reaction to the behavior and being able to retrieve the material days, weeks, months and even years later. It is so important that we lose the us and them mentality and focus on communal solutions to change and stop the behavior.

      Join Room for Debate on Facebook and follow updates on twitter.com/roomfordebate.


      at 1:38 pm

      Bullying at work

      I own a restaurant, and one of my servers told me another server is bullying him. I think the “aggressor” is just a jerk, and I told them to work it out. A friend recently told me that there’s a new anti-bullying law that applies to businesses in California. Does it apply to me? What should I do here?

      It really depends on what kind of bullying is happening here and whether your employee is being psychically or emotionally harmed.

      Workplace bullying is the recurring abuse of one or more co-workers. Bullying can include verbal mistreatment, offensive conduct or behavior that is threatening, humiliating or intimidating, or “work sabotage” that prevents the victim from getting work done. A single act is not considered bullying unless it’s severe and egregious.

      While physical violence has no place in the workplace, bullying is harder to identify and prevent. It typically takes the form of verbal, psychological violence, although it can also look like acts or threats of physical violence. Simply being antisocial does not rise to the level of bullying — real bullying will impair an employee’s health.

      Bullying at work can cause health problems, including depression, anxiety and hypertension. Victims often feel trapped in toxic work environments.

      Effective Jan. 1, AB 2053 amends the requirement in California that compels employers with 50 or more employees to conduct sexual harassment training of supervisors. The new law expands the mandatory training content to include prevention of “abusive conduct,” which includes behavior that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive and unrelated to an employer’s legitimate business interests.

      The law does not specify the actual content of the training, nor does it require a specific amount of time to be devoted to bullying prevention.

      If you have more than 50 employees, or if you just want to prevent bullying in your workplace, you should review and revise your training materials to ensure that they cover the prevention of bullying and abusive conduct.

      Keep in mind that California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act already covers discriminatory bullying. The law protects employees from bullying that targets a victim’s protected characteristic, such as race, gender, age or religion. Bullying that is not covered by discrimination laws may still be actionable as intentional infliction of emotional distress.

      Update your employee handbook to make it clear that bullying is a violation of company policy. Any complaints about bullying should be addressed with a thorough and prompt investigation, with appropriate remedial action. Do not ignore claims of bullying, and do not retaliate against victims who report bullying.


      at 1:38 pm

      G-RF students work to stop bullying – Champaign/Urbana News


      GEORGETOWN — It’s quite common for Georgetown-Ridge Farm High School students to show their school spirit by wearing purple, white and gold attire.

      But on Tuesday, students and staff throughout the district traded in T-shirts and hoodies in their school colors for blue shirts to make a statement against bullying.

      Pine Crest Elementary School students also snacked on cookies with blue sugar sprinkles and got blue decorations drawn on their face and hands, and a few even colored their hair blue, as part of the district’s first annual Stomp Out Bullying Day.

      “We want our students to stand up against bullying and know what to do when they see bullying,” said Pine Crest social worker Jo Ann Wilson, who helped organize the effort with Traci Wilt, a social worker at the high school and Mary Miller Junior High, and Penny Cook, a high school guidance counselor.

      October is National Bullying Prevention Month. STOMP Out Bullying, the leading national bullying and cyber bullying prevention organization in the U.S., works to educate students and their parents about bullying, cyber bullying and sexting and how to respond to all forms; improve school climate and reduce violence; and provide help for those in need and at risk of suicide, among other things.

      Wilson said the high school, junior high school and Pine Crest each have held various anti-bullying activities, but Stomp Out Bullying Day was the first districtwide activity.

      Elementary and junior high students made posters with anti-bullying messages and hung them around the schools.

      At Pine Crest, posters declared hallways “a no-bully zone” and reminded students to “be a buddy, not a bully. Another poster, decorated with minions from “Despicable Me” movie, announced, “bullying is despicable.”

      Junior high and high school students are watched video clips during their lunch period. The videos presented different bullying incidents and showed students how to respond appropriately.

      One focused on cyber bullying, which Wilt said has grown as more preteens and teens have started texting and using social media.

      “One of the things we’re really hoping to do is try to get them to be less dependent on electronics and more engaged in their relationships,” Wilt said, adding people, in general, are more apt to harm or intimidate another via online or text message because it’s not done face-to-face or can be done anonymously.

      “We want to them to learn how to build their relationships, learn how to communicate with each other and solve problems, be more empathetic, all of these things that can really reduce bullying.”

      Back at Pine Crest, fifth graders in a classroom co-taught by Jill Burdick and Sandy Chandler, discussed the steps that students should take if they or someone else is being bullied including walking away, asking the person to stop nicely and then firmly and going to an adult for help. They also discussed the role of the bystander — someone who sees bullying occur, but does nothing.

      “If they’re smiling and laughing, it’s encouraging” the bully, one student said.

      “It’s giving the bully attention so he will keep doing it,” another added.

      Fifth graders Jace Bina and Trinity Collins said they would like to see their school start a program, similar to one they read about in their Scholastic News Magazine, to end bullying at Pine Crest.

      Under the “Be a Buddy, Not a Bully” program, started by Colorado student Isabella Griffin, students sign a pledge to be an “upstander,” someone who stands up for kids being bullied. When they sign the pledge, they get a blue bracelet, which signifies to others they won’t tolerate bullying.

      The program has been adopted in six Colorado schools, and Isabella won $50,000 and plans to use the money to expand the program in schools throughout her state.

      “It would let the bullies know that everyone’s watching them, and they shouldn’t do the things they do,” Trinity said.

      “We just want to stop the bullying so that everyone can just get along,” Jace added.


      at 1:37 pm

      A closer look at Lewinksy’s motivation

      Posted by in Cyber Bullying

      Posted: Wednesday, October 29, 2014 1:00 am

      A closer look at Lewinksy’s motivation

      By Genae Salinas | Collegian Staff Writer


      About a week ago, Monica Lewinsky popped up at Forbes’ 30 Under 30 summit and told listeners that her new calling was to end cyberbullying.

      On the surface, her newfound mission seems surrounded by good intentions — cyberbullying is indeed a huge issue that affects many people. Most students at Penn State have likely encountered some type of internet-based harassment before, whether via Facebook, Twitter or even Myspace (back in the day.)

      The topic is relevant and important — people have committed suicide as a result of cyberbullying.

      The timing of Lewinsky’s declaration of her goal to put an end to internet bullying is suspicious, though.

      Could it have anything to do with the approaching election season? The day of her speech just so happened to be the exact same day she joined Twitter, too.

      In Lewinsky’s first public address ever, she claimed to have been “patient zero” of cyberbullying — she claimed to have been “the first person to have their reputation completely destroyed worldwide via the internet.”

      Perhaps she’s right. Perhaps she was the first person to be so harshly ridiculed and studied under a microscope through the lens of the Internet.

      But maybe that’s what you get when you have an affair with the President of the United States.

      And then Lewinsky reappears 16 years later, as Hilary Clinton is in the midst of a fierce campaign that’s gaining momentum each day, and is suddenly dedicated to putting a halt to cyberbullying.

      At the summit, Lewinsky explained what it felt like to be ripped apart via social media and to read the accounts of her affair with President Clinton.

      “Staring at the computer screen, I spent the day shouting: ‘oh my god!’ and ‘I can’t believe they put that in’ or ‘That’s so out of context,’ ”Lewinsky said during her address. “And those were the only thoughts that interrupted a relentless mantra in my head: ‘I want to die.’ ”

      Lewinsky undeniably underwent more derision and contempt than anyone should ever have to face in a lifetime. But let me remind you, she had an affair with the president.

      If you’re going to get romantically involved with the most powerful (married) man in the world, you shouldn’t be too surprised when you get caught; you shouldn’t be surprised when you become a target of the media; you shouldn’t be surprised when that blue dress becomes almost as famous as the affair itself.

      Lewinksy makes herself look like a victim, and, in a way, she is.

      Again, she did experience an overwhelming amount of cyberbullying and that would be hard on anyone.

      But in regards to the affair, the person who suffered most of all was Hilary Clinton. For Lewinsky to suddenly resurface after 16 years and bring attention back to the Clinton’s most embarrassing and cringe-worthy moment is a low blow.

      It’s a low blow that I’m sure Hilary does not appreciate.

      And to top it all off, Lewinsky decided to speak about Tyler Clementi at the summit, a Rutgers student who committed suicide as a result of cyberbullying in 2010.

      Four years later, and Lewinsky decides to bring attention to the Clementi case — four years later she speaks up about the event that she claimed to be one of the “principle reasons” she became dedicated to the cause.

      You can’t just bring attention back to a horrible tragedy whenever it’s convenient. If Lewinsky’s mission seemed genuine, maybe it wouldn’t be so tasteless, but it looks more like the center of a large and complex publicity stunt meant to do more harm to Hilary than put a stop to cyberbullying.

      The worst part, though, is that she compared Clementi’s situation to her own. Clementi’s roommate secretly videotaped Clementi’s sexual encounter with another boy and then streamed it — after relentless teasing and humiliation from peers, Clementi took his own life.

      Yes, Lewinsky had suicidal thoughts and her reputation was brutally butchered, but that was the result of completely self-inflicted actions that she decided to take part in herself. There is no way she never realized the possible consequences her actions could have if the affair was found out.

      Lewinsky’s mission to end cyberbullying is a good one — but that’s not her only mission.

      Whatever her hidden agenda may be, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that Lewinsky disrespected Clementi, the Clintons and anyone who has ever been the target of cyberbullying by turning the issue political and making herself seem like a helpless victim.

      Genae Salinas is a junior majoring in public relations and is The Daily Collegian’s Wednesday columnist. Email her at gks5053@psu.edu or follow her on Twitter @genaekalene.

      Genae Salinas is a junior majoring in public relations and is The Daily Collegian’s Wednesday columnist. Email her at gks5053@psu.edu or follow her on Twitter @genaekalene.

      More about Monica Lewinsky

      • ARTICLE: Destiny’s Child’s “Love Songs” a blast from the past
      • ARTICLE: Lewinsky brings coming of age in focus
      • ARTICLE: Lawyer asserts Court’s power
      • ARTICLE: Locals protest Prop. 8 defense

      More about Cyber-bullying

      • ARTICLE: Threats should be taken seriously, but shouldn’t control our lives


      Wednesday, October 29, 2014 1:00 am.

      | Tags:

      Lewinsky Scandal,

      Monica Lewinsky,


      Hilary Clinton,


      Tyler Clementi,

      Internet-based Harassment,

      Internet Bullying,



      United States,

      President Of The United States,

      Social Media,



      Public Relations,

      The Daily Collegian,

      Gks5053 Psu.edu


      at 1:37 pm

      Snapchat not covered by cyberbullying laws

      Posted by in Cyber Bullying

      A new government body will talk with smaller social media firms, such as Snapchat, in a bid to make them take down offensive material when asked. Photo: AFP

      Snapchat and other “smaller” social media firms will not fall under the legal scope of the federal government’s crackdown on cyberbullying.

      Instead a new government body will chat with such firms behind the scenes in a bid to make them play ball and take down offensive material when asked.

      Paul Fletcher, the Parliamentary Secretary for Communications, says it’s impossible to legislate for overseas-based firms with little Australian connection.

      “We will be pursuing an informal, rather than strict legal, approach,” he said in a speech at a conference in Melbourne on Tuesday.

      Mr Fletcher is spearheading new laws to ensure harmful cyberbullying material is quickly pulled from the internet.

      The laws, planned for introduction to parliament before year’s end, will establish a new Office of the Children’s E-Safety Commissioner to handle complaints and take-downs.

      In his speech, Mr Fletcher revealed the commissioner will oversee a two-tier system targeted at “large” firms such Facebook and Twitter.

      Firms granted “Tier One” status will be expected to voluntarily act on legitimate take-down requests from the public in a “timely manner”.

      If they don’t, the commissioner can make a direct request.

      Firms who repeatedly ignore requests risk being placed in “Tier Two”, where they will face legal obligations to remove content and face civil penalties for non-compliance.

      Mr Fletcher calculated that larger firms with local employees and advertising revenue will comply to protect their reputation.

      Smaller firms present a different proposition, but he says he’s confident they’ll comply with requests even in the absence of legal powers.

      “By building relationships with overseas-based sites, the commissioner is likely in many cases to be able to achieve the desired policy intention,” he said.

      Mr Fletcher has previously said such sites could be named and shamed when they don’t comply.

      He also confirmed the commissioner will issue formal notices to users asking them to remove offensive material or risk court injunctions or referral to police.

      However, the laws will stop short of empowering the commissioner to impose fines on users, because many are children.

      A criminal offence for cyberbullying, as has been introduced in the UK and New Zealand, was ruled out earlier in the year.



      at 1:37 pm

      Panel: Parents play role in stopping cyberbullying

      Posted by in Cyber Bullying

      By Tobias Wall
      Staff Writer

      Posted Oct. 28, 2014 @ 9:18 pm


      at 7:37 am

      DeSean Jackson Continues Bullying Education

      DeSean Jackson visited Dogwood Elementary School on Tuesday to discuss his initiatives for Bullying Prevention Month.

      Arriving in the early afternoon, Jackson walked into the school’s gymnasium to the cheers of 4th, 5th and 6th graders, while a handful of band students greeted the three-time Pro Bowler with a rendition of “Hail To The Redskins.”

      Wide awake and just hours removed after returning home from Dallas after a big win over the Cowboys, Jackson felt it was important for him to speak with the kids — sleep or no sleep.

      “It means a lot to me, honestly,” he said. “I love to interact and come rub elbows with the youth. That’s what we’re here for – to make a difference.”

      After receiving a formal introduction from assistant principal Sean McCartney, Jackson spoke about bullying in and out of school, and how it takes just a little bit of courage to make a big difference.

      “Just stand up and don’t be afraid to stand up,” Jackson said when asked about his overall message. “That’s the big thing, have them understand that it’s going to make a difference if they do speak, or ask for help or ask for guidance in certain situations.”

      Following his speech, the Pro Bowl wideout held an open question-and-answer segment with students from the group. Nothing was off limits, as he was asked about his life off the field, as well as on it, and some general thoughts on bullying and his football career.

      “There were some great questions,” Jackson said. “That just lets you know how intelligent the youth are and the future is very bright for our world.”

      To wrap up his stay, Jackson and a select handful of students then ventured down the hallway into an empty classroom where he held a roundtable discussion with the kids and fielded more questions about himself, his career and his life growing up.

      After the meeting, Jackson autographed posters for the students and posed for several pictures.

      Despite playing in a hard-fought battle against a division rival just about 12 hours before his visit, Jackson was adamant to use the opportunity to discuss a topic he’s passionate about. While others may gripe at the opportunity, Jackson was more than willing.

      “Anytime I’m able to do these types of things, this is what I love to do,” he said. “[I am] never forced to do it. [I] always want to get a good word across to the youth.”

      Redskins Charitable Foundation, Coca-Cola Host Get The Ball Rolling Flag Football Experience
      WRCF, Coca-Cola Host 4th And Life Forum





      at 7:37 am

      Birmingham photographer’s portraits help those bullied

      Morgan Wietecha is 16 and lives in Shelby Township. Marla Michele Must is 46 and lives in Birmingham. While there are differences in age and geographic communities, they have one thing in common: Both were victims of bullying.

      Morgan’s mother, Denise Wietecha, says Morgan was bullied in elementary school after she missed a month of school because of illness.

      “When she came back, the kids thought it was funny to ignore her, and it made Morgan extremely anxious,” Denise Wietecha says.

      When things went from bad to worse, the Wietechas decided it was best to homeschool their daughter, getting all of Morgan Wietecha’s curriculum from an online site.

      Recently, Denise Wietecha saw a segment on Fox2 News (WJBK-TV) that featured Must talking about the free Empowered Portrait sessions she does for victims of bullying. After getting a thumbs up from her daughter’s therapist, she called the Birmingham-based photographer the very same day.

      Must opened Enchanted Photography in 2011 to focus on families. Having struggled with self-esteem issues in her youth, she decided to incorporate the empowerment portrait sessions to help boost the self-confidence of bullying or trauma victims.

      “Did you know that over 3 million children are victims of bullying every year?” Must says. “When I heard that statistic, it just broke my heart, and I knew I had to figure out a way to step up and help. And that is how my Empowerment Sessions came to be. I believe I have a gift for making my images illuminate both the subjects’ inner and outer beauty, hopefully allowing them to rediscover themselves in a brand new light and helping them to heal.”

      Must averages about one empowerment session a month. The youngest child photographed was 8; the oldest, 19.

      “For some strange reason, the highest population of the children I have photographed has been between age 12-13,” Must says. “That seems like a prime age.”

      Must says she likes to shoot her subjects outdoors because she finds that nature provides a soothing and therapeutic environment. She conducted Morgan Wietecha’s photo session at Quarton Lake in Birmingham.

      A few weeks after the photo session, Must invited Morgan Wietecha and her immediate and extended family to her Birmingham photography studio for what Must calls “the reveal”: a slide-show presentation of the photographs.

      Once Morgan Wietecha selected her favorite shots, she received a copy of the slide show, a couple of enlargements and some wallet-size photos.

      “I loved the reveal,” Morgan says. “I didn’t think I’d like it as much as I did, but the photos are all amazing. Now I can see what other people are seeing, and it made me feel very good about myself. It was a good experience.”

      Denise Wietecha agrees and sees a difference in her daughter.

      “Since the photos were taken, Morgan is feeling better about herself and is starting to pay attention to things like her clothes and her hair,” she says. “Hopefully, these photos will help her to see the special person that she is.”

      Judith Harris Solomon is a Metro Detroit freelance writer.


      Impact of bullying

      October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center has compiled a list of ways bullying can affect a child:


      ■School avoidance and higher rates of absenteeism

      ■Decrease in grades

      ■Inability to concentrate

      ■Loss of interest in academic achievement

      ■Increase in dropout rates

      Physical and mental health problems:

      ■Headaches and stomach aches

      ■Sleeping problems

      ■Low self-esteem

      ■Increased fear or anxiety


      ■Post traumatic stress


      ■Increased aggression

      ■Self-harm and suicidal thoughts

      ■Feeling of alienation at school

      ■Fear of other students



      at 7:37 am

      Pittsburgh forum on bullying urges vigilance – Tribune

      Squelching school violence isn’t a social or legal issue, the U.S. Attorney for Western Pennsylvania said: It’s a public health challenge.

      “The cost of prosecution is 10 times over prevention, and that does not even begin to address how we can save a life if we can eliminate the problem before it starts,� David Hickton said at a Highmark-sponsored symposium on bullying Tuesday at Heinz Field.

      “Bullying breaks my heart. I can’t be any more direct,â€� he said.

      In a keynote address, Hickton called on the crowd of a couple hundred people — many teachers — to be more vigilant. He recalled for them an extreme case from 2012 when Russell Freed, 46, of Brentwood was sentenced to 20 years in prison for anonymously extorting nude photos from a woman and using her identity through online profiles to extort more nude photos from high school girls.

      Bullying prevention, particularly online, is about risk reduction, not risk elimination, he said.

      “As bad as bullying is, it used to be confined to the school day,� Hickton said. “Victims now have the prospect of terror 24-7.�

      Lynn Cromley, director of the Camp Hill-based Center for Safe Schools, said urban school administrators report higher rates of bullying-related discipline problems, racial and ethnic tensions and perceived gang activity than non-urban school administrators.

      Reducing peer aggression while encouraging students to appreciate their own diversity is especially tough in a school with larger class sizes, limited funding and frequent teacher turnover, she said. Administrators have to implement clear policies, notify parents and engage community groups to speak up about violence they see outside school walls.

      “It’s a challenge for us. It’s a challenge for the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). It’s a challenge for the Institute of Medicine,â€� Dr. Matt Masiello said.

      Masiello, chief medical officer for the Children’s Institute in Squirrel Hill, started a bullying prevention study in 2008 with area schools using adaptations of existing prevention programs and pediatricians willing to adopt new intervention techniques.

      “These issues can’t be treated as peripheral because they all affect academic success,â€� Cromley said.

      Bullying, often the result of an observed or perceived power imbalance, can cause mental trauma as violent and long-lasting as physical injury, Masiello said.

      Yvonne Cook, president of the Highmark Foundation, encouraged symposium attendees to bring in parents, health care workers, community advocates and criminal justice department officials for open dialogue about students’ safety needs.

      “Most students remain silent about bullying,� Hickton said. “No child should ever feel so helpless.�

      Megan Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach her at 412-388-5815 or mharris@tribweb.com.

      Add Megan Harris to your Google+ circles.


      at 7:37 am

      LA school officials order review of every senior’s transcript

      Posted by in School

      Reacting to ongoing problems with a new computerized student data system, Los Angeles school district officials have ordered a review of every senior’s transcript and brought in counselors and administrators to ensure those records won’t hurt students’ chances to graduate or apply to college.

      Supt. Ramon C. Cortines announced the move Monday. It’s unclear how many of Los Angeles Unified’s nearly 38,000 seniors are affected, but difficulties with the new system are being reported across the nation’s second-largest district.

      lRelated Inglewood schools chief criticized over costs of his security detail
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      Central and regional office staff also are being sent to the district’s 103 high schools to allow counselors to focus on the records problems. A typical high school is assigned about one counselor for every 700 students, although sometimes schools can fund an additional position.

      The faulty computerized records system, which was launched districtwide in August, has resulted in some students lacking necessary courses or being assigned classes they don’t need or both. It’s also produced errors in transcripts needed for college.

      The staff at the Downtown Magnets campus has worked long hours to try to keep all students on track, said college counselor Lynda McGee, but still there have been problems.

      She learned recently of a senior who took required math classes in middle school. The student’s transcript, instead of showing the A she earned, listed her grades as C and D. Another senior was missing credits for classes taken during a semester of ninth grade.

      Cortines pledged to contact presidents of state colleges and many private institutions in California to alert them of the problems in L.A. Unified.

      But that won’t help students applying out of state, McGee said.

      “Are we putting anything out to these other schools or are we supposed to somehow add it to the recommendation? Are we supposed to say: Don’t trust this transcript?” she said.

      Some application deadlines are in October, but the first major deadline for many colleges is Nov. 1.

      “As of last week, this problem really affected the entire graduating class, about 250 students, in some way,” said Bonnie Goodman, whose son, a senior at Cleveland High School in Reseda, is applying at two colleges under the “early action” program for admission.

      The problems with the so-called My Integrated Student Information System has “caused great consternation” among families, she added. It also sparked a letter-writing campaign seeking help from district officials.

      Cortines sent a letter to parents Monday outlining district efforts to rectify problems.

      Cortines’ predecessor, John Deasy, resigned under pressure Oct. 15. His critics faulted his handling of the student records system as well as another technology project: to provide every student, teacher and school administrator with an iPad. That effort has slowed, and now other devices also are being tested.

      Leaders of both the administrators union and the teachers union have faulted L.A. Unified for switching to the new records system without adequate preparation.


      Twitter: @howardblume

      Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times


      at 7:37 am

      Fact check: Shining some light on school funding debate

      Posted by in School

      The election is a week away and depending on which TV ads they watch, voters are either told that Gov. Rick Snyder cut education funding by $1 billion or that he increased it by the same amount.

      The claim and counter-claim were made again in ads released by the campaign of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer and by the Snyder campaign.

      The Free Press has addressed the issue before, but is tackling it once more in detail because the dispute continues in TV ads and various commentaries.

      Last week, the Schauer campaign began airing a TV ad titled “Potential,” which said, in part: “First, I’ll reverse Rick Snyder’s billion-dollar cuts to our schools.”

      The Snyder campaign also released a new ad last week, titled, “Everyone.” It quoted the Free Press and other media fact checkers disputing Schauer’s repeated claims.

      To summarize, Schauer’s claim that Snyder cut $1 billion from education is false and Snyder’s answer that he has increased state K-12 funding by just over $1 billion since he took office in 2011 is true. But there’s plenty more to the story — including the fact that nearly all of the extra money has gone to pay increased retirement costs that school districts were responsible for paying, as detailed below.

      The story of the $1-billion cut dates to Snyder’s first budget, presented in 2011 for the 2012 fiscal year, in which Snyder recommended cuts to 2012 school aid that the House Fiscal Agency pegged at $961 million. If one uses round numbers and includes cuts in federal school funding, it’s accurate to say Snyder once called for a $1-billion education cut.

      But the $1-billion cut never happened.

      School districts complained, state revenues improved, and lawmakers — with Snyder’s support — responded. By the time the supplemental budgets were approved and the numbers were finalized, the cut was reduced to just over $200 million. Cuts to federal stimulus funding of about $500 million accounted for all of that, and state funding for K-12 had actually gone up, from $10.8 billion in 2011 to $11.1 billion in the 2012 fiscal year, which was Snyder’s first budget, according to data from the nonpartisan Senate Fiscal Agency.

      State funding for K-12 has increased every year since, to $11.2 billion in 2013, $11.5 billion in 2014, and $12.1 billion in 2015, again according to the Senate Fiscal Agency.

      But as the Free Press has reported before, of that overall $1.3-billion increase, $883 million went to pay a short-term spike in Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System costs resulting from 2009 stock market losses and a 2010 early-retirement offer to teachers.

      State officials don’t deny most school districts had less money to spend on other costs, particularly when inflation and reduced enrollment is figured in. The amount allocated for “basic operations” has actually declined by $119 million under Snyder, according to the Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

      Some have argued the $883 million shouldn’t count, because it couldn’t be spent in “the classroom.” But school districts had to pay those costs, and teacher salaries and benefits have always been the No. 1 classroom cost.

      The state could have used the $883 million to hike the per-pupil allowance and it still would have gone to pay the same expenses. But the money would have been diluted because it would have been shared with charter schools, which don’t have the same legacy retirement costs. Instead, the state paid the money separately to only those traditional school districts who faced the extraordinary costs.

      Could Snyder have increased K-12 funding more than he did, given that the spike in retirement costs ate up most of the increase? Absolutely.

      Commentators such as the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council and Mitch Bean, the former director of the House Fiscal Agency, have argued the amount that could potentially be spent on K-12 schools took a major hit because of actions backed by Snyder — particularly the $1.8-billion tax cut resulting from the elimination of the Michigan Business Tax and the use of about $400 million a year from the School Aid Fund to support community colleges.

      “Combined, these decisions have effectively reduced the amount of state resources schools receive,” the Citizens Research Council said in an October report.

      Contact Paul Egan: 517-372-8660 or pegan@freepress.com


      at 7:37 am

      Tacoma teens charged with ‘funny’ school-shooting threats

      Posted by in School

      Two Franklin Pierce High School students were arrested and charged with felony harassment for making threats in two separate incidents on Monday, according to school officials and prosecutors.

      Willie Painter, a spokesman for the Franklin Pierce School District in Tacoma, said the first arrest occurred during the school day when two students were allegedly overheard making threats against school administrators. Both of the male students were put on an emergency expulsion and one, a 16-year-old, was arrested and charged with felony harassment, Painter said.

      When school let out in the afternoon, social-media chatter exploded with information and speculation about threats to the school, Painter said.

      Around 7 p.m., the school district began receiving reports about a student who claimed he intended to shoot up the school on Tuesday and the sheriff’s office was called, said Painter.

      According to charges filed by the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, the teen, also 16, is alleged to have tweeted, “attention! attention! It’s me that is shooting up the school tomorrow so be prepared and goodnight! I’m shooting up the school bro! sshh.”

      When interviewed by police, the teen said he is the class clown and thought that in the midst of all the Twitter and Facebook chatter about Friday’s fatal shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, it would “be funny to say he was going to shoot up his school,” according to prosecutors.

      Police said the teen’s stepfather has firearms, but they are stored in a safe.

      Painter said that so far it does not appear that any of the threats were credible. Nevertheless, he said, the incidents contain  important lessons for students and parents. “Social media requires great responsibility on the part of users and threats are a very serious matter and can go beyond school discipline,” he said.

      Painter said attendance was lower than usual on Tuesday as some parents chose to keep their children home. He said all absences were excused.

      Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said Tuesday. “We take any threat to the safety of our children seriously. While this may have been ill-conceived humor, it’s still a crime.”


      at 1:37 am

      Washington School Shooting Raises Specter of Youth Bullying

      Many of us watched or read with horror the news of the recent school shooting in Washington state. Gia Soriano, 14, one of the students shot at the Marysville-Pilchuck High School in Washington state when a freshman opened fire last Friday, died this week, increasing the shooting’s death toll to two (three if you include the shooter himself). There are three other victims who are still in the hospital, two of whom are in critical condition.

      But as I sit here prepping for my national radio show and my appearances on television, I am shocked to see that the top 10 to 12 stories across the Web don’t have to do with the shooting or this girl’s death. Instead, they are about Ebola, the Islamic State group or the midterm elections.

      This saddens me. Deeply.

      [READ: Another Student Dies in Washington School Shooting]

      I wept about this girl’s passing, not only as a woman who has two children of her own, but as a human being who sees the elephant in the room, which we as a nation and we as parents are clearly ignoring.

      Our children are hurting. The shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School was the 38th school shooting this year in the United States.

      Looking back on this year and many others, it seems these shootings always bring up discussion, dialogue and controversy about the following issues: guns, mental illness and bullying. Here at U.S. News, I have written about the first two, and I am certain I will again. But today, I write about bullying, which is a key aspect in these shootings, in my opinion.

      Many are saying that Jaylen Fryberg, the shooter in the Washington state incident, was a popular freshman, and that bullying played no role in the shooting because some of the victims were his friends. Many are in disbelief, because he was a happy guy who was always smiling, at least on the outside.

      But no one who takes a gun, shoots a group of people and then takes his own life is “happy.” And you cannot discount bullying simply because he was crowned homecoming king.

      [READ: Pew survey finds online harassment widespread, young adults most likely to be victims]

      For those of you that know my husband and I, you would never think that we were the victims of bullying. But we were.

      My husband’s family came from a different country and settled in a small town in Florida, and on nearly a daily basis he was verbally abused and sometimes physically abused. A boy went so far as to hold a knife against his throat and threaten to kill him.

      As for me, I was bullied at a young age due to my size. In elementary school, I was physically much smaller than most of my peers. As I got older, there were girls on the bus or kids in the neighborhood who threatened or tried to “kick my butt.” I also had various slurs thrown at me because my father is Jewish and had a best friend who was black. I even had rocks thrown at me.

      My mother’s reaction to this was quite different than you might expect. Whether it be a birthday, Christmas or Valentine’s day, I had to invite everyone or give cards to everyone, even kids that had bullied me. But what my mother was doing was teaching me to love, not to hate.

      When we look at some of the past school shootings, of course there is the question of mental illness and access to weapons. But what if the child or young adult was not mentally ill?

      [READ: Having Faith With Bipolar Disorder]

      Bullying is a very general term. It can be someone physically threatening to harm, actually harming or verbally harming another. But those who are victims of bullying often feel “bullied” even if none of these things occur. Just perceptions can lead feelings of hurt and desperation to turn into anger and rage.

      The earliest known school shooting in the United States
      dates back to the 1760′s. Over the years, a number of the shooters in these school massacres felt rejected, like an outcast; they felt like a victim of bullying. And sometimes the bullies become the shooters.

      Last year, my daughter, who was just 5 years old and in kindergarten, came home crying because she was the only girl not invited to another girl’s play date. Although many might say, “Leslie, that’s not bullying,” it’s where it starts. My daughter felt like no one liked her, and it has affected her level of confidence, which is something I am working hard on turning around.

      [READ: Prosecutor: 7 students charged with sex crimes in high school football hazing investigation]

      Parents, we have a responsibility. Our children look to us to be role models. They hear what we say about other children, and about their parents. They will learn from our behaviors. There’s an old Crosby Stills Nash song called “Teach Your Children,” and it’s very true. We can teach our children how to be loving, kind and tolerant. We can teach them not to bully others and to keep open the lines of communication so we can know if our children are hurting, and, hopefully, prevent a future incident like the 38 we have already seen this year.

      Children who feel that they don’t belong can react in various ways. Some will become wallflowers, lonely, keeping to themselves. Some, like my husband and I, will become leaders rather than followers and will be strengthened by having been victims. But some pick up a gun and walk into their classroom to release the hurt they’ve held deep inside.

      So parents of America, I implore you, don’t wait until it’s too late. Stop your child from bullying. Stop your child from being bullied. It will help us to feel more comfortable about sending our children to school each day, and, in the future, it will create a more peaceful and harmonious society.