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District News

October 5, 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

More than two hundred attend Gresham-Barlow School District forum on bullying

Parents, students, and educators learn how to deal with destructive behavior

More than two hundred people attended the Gresham-Barlow School District’s Bullying Prevention Forum October 4 at Gresham High School. The event featured a large-group presentation on the issue of bullying in our society, break-out sessions on topics related to bullying, and a resource fair.

Youth empowerment advocate Hanif Fazal kicked off the event. His presentation focused on the growing issue of bullying and what needs to happen to reduce this type of behavior. His list of strategies included creating safe learning environments in schools; establishing trusting and open relationships between children and adults; providing targets of bullying, their parents, and school staff skills to respond to bullying; and helping bystanders learn how to respond when they see someone being bullied.

“It’s not stopping unless people decide to do something about it,” said Fazal. “Bystanders should feel just as responsible as a parent or teacher to intervene. How we treat one another really matters.”

During his presentation, Fazal asked parent Naila Lundstrom to speak. She shared what happened when her son was the target of bullying behavior at school. Lundstrom alerted her child’s teacher, and in doing so, learned the importance of being an advocate for her child.

“If you don’t stand up, you say this behavior is okay,” said Lundstrom. “What other people say matters and makes a difference and if it makes you feel bad and makes you not feel good, it’s important to say and do something about it.”

In addition to looking at what parents of students who are bullied can do, Fazal also shared steps parents can take if they see their child displaying bullying-type behaviors. First, parents should help their child learn different ways of handling their frustrations. Fazal believes it’s also important to help kids understand how bullying hurts. “Developing empathy is the best cure for bullying,” Fazal said.

Last night’s Bullying Prevention Forum is just one way the Gresham-Barlow School District is addressing the issue of bullying. The district has created a brochure for parents that lists what school staff is doing about bullying and the role parents play. Schools are surveying students to learn what to do to improve school climate. Teams of teachers and administrators are developing bullying prevention curriculum for use by teachers at all levels. 

“Bullying is an issue for our schools and our community,” said Student Support Services Director Janell Black. “By working together, we can create a culture where everyone is treated with respect.”

 


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