A three-day anti-bullying conference kicks off this afternoon in Fort Myers. Organizers hope to draw more attention to the kinds of bad things that can happen in schools. It seems virtually everyone has a personal bullying story. For many, the incidents are long forgotten. But some of the teasing sticks with people and can cause plenty of problems down the road. Last year, a Cape Coral teenager committed suicide after years of being cyber-bullied. Educators say it’s time for bullying to stop. Kathleen Saucier is a school counselor at Mariner Middle School and is helping organize the conference.
“It’s a culture that’s been accepted for a long time and one of the things that we talk a lot about with the kids and the adults is that we need to start changing the culture. And how do we do that? By increasing the awareness, by talking about alternatives, by working on strategies to help people make better choices, be more successful in the classroom which includes how they get along with others.”
Saucier says about three-dozen people will participate during the bullying conference at Mariner Middle. She says the sessions are geared to educators who teach elementary and middle school.
Bullies have been in schools as long as there’s been recess. Now a group of Lee County educators is holding a conference to look at ways to curb the teasing. The impact of bullying hit home last year when a Cape Coral teenager committed suicide after being cyber-bullied. Several dozen educators are holding a three-day conference at Mariner Middle School this week. Counselor Kathleen Saucier says they’ll look at ways to minimize bullies and help teachers do a better job cracking down on it.
“I think it’s very, very common. And I think a lot of it, it’s gotten better in that we’ve increased awareness for the students. That they can actually have an avenue, something that they can do so it doesn’t have to be that way. For the teachers to be more aware of what’s going on. But we still have a lot of work to do.”
Earlier this year, the Florida Legislature failed to pass anti-bullying legislation. The measure would have given school districts more power to punish those who tease other students and it also would have created anti-bullying programs.
Monday, 25 September 2006 01:00
Anti-Bullying ConferenceWritten by WGCU Newsroom