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Parents Learn of the Perils of Bullying

Presentation addressed the issue of bullying and how it can be prevented.

For a long time, many students in middle schools and high schools have dealt with a severe problem – bullying. With recent horrifying bullying events like the Tyler Clementi saga at Rutgers University, many are looking into ways to help stop the bullying problem.

Concerned parents and faculty in the Howell community came together on Tuesday evening at Howell Middle School North to address this very serious issue.

As part of that effort, a parent workshop on the perils of bullying was held in the media center of Middle School North. The workshop covered the New Jersey Anti-Bullying Law, presented by Howell Township School District’s Anti-Bullying Coordinator, Jeanna Corrigan, and cyber bullying, presented by Sgt. Chris Hill of the Howell Police Department.

Corrigan began the meeting explaining how the school district deals with circumstances of bullying. She noted that in the district with instances of bullying, interviews are held by a certified safety team with both the bully and those bullied. Information is then sent out to both party’s parents to further address the bullying situation.

She then continued to further explain issues of bullying, noting there are many individuals involved. Those involved in the situation include the offender, or the person doing the bullying, the target, who is the person being bullied, and bystanders.

Corrigan went on to note there are many different types of bullying, including physical, emotional, verbal and the ever-present cyber bullying. She explained sometimes people might not know when a normal conflict can turn into bullying, so she went in depth explaining the difference.

“Bullying is a repeated offense, whereas a normal conflict does not occur as often,” she said. “Also, those bullying usually show no remorse, while in normal conflicts, those individuals usually do feel remorseful.”

Ms. Corrigan concluded her part of the evening by telling parents what they can do to prevent bullying from occurring. She encouraged all parents to talk with their children, and asked them to brainstorm and practice anti-bullying strategies with their children.

Following Ms. Corrigan’s portion of the evening, Sgt. Hill took his turn presenting to those in attendance about the perils of cyber-bullying, as well as simply being safe while on the computer. He noted the key to helping end cyber-bullying, as well as keeping children safe on the computer, is bymonitoring children while they surf the web.

“It is important to limit computer access for children, you wouldn’t believe how many dangers are out there,” he said. Sgt. Hill added that even Google searches can turn up inappropriate results, even when searching places like the White House or famous individuals like Martin Luther King Jr.

Sgt. Hill also noted that harassment may not only be limited to computers, as there is also a great deal of bullying occurring via cellular phones as well. 

“Anyone can send a text claiming to be anyone, so you have to be careful when sending and receiving texts,” he said.

Sgt. Hill then went on to talk about dangers teenagers face while on various social networking websites, like Facebook, Twitter and SecondLife.

“All these teenagers like to put up pictures with them at parties drinking out of those red little cups,” he said, acknowledging that pictures of students being drunk or inappropriate can come back to harm them in the long run.

He concluded by telling all parents to make sure their teenagers are safe on the computer, warning them that sometimes teenagers will have two Facebook profiles, one for their parents that is clean and appropriate, and one for their friends that is not as appropriate.

Sgt. Hill told parents in attendance if they thought their children were doing something inappropriate, or were being bullied, they would try to help them out, but they could not help if they were unaware of the situation. 

“We will do the best we can to help you our, but we can’t help you if we don’t know what’s going on,” Sgt. Hill said.

lyn roberts February 22, 2012 at 03:48 PM
If I had it my way, it would be a requirement for EVERY parent who has a child in school to attend. It really does begin with the parent!!
eva February 22, 2012 at 04:10 PM
This article does not mention, that is if bullying from adults was ever brought up at the presentation. Students are subject to this more than we think and it is hidden for fear of retribution especially if it is coming from a teacher. While most teachers are autristic and commited to their trade, a recent study brought out an untapped and underdiscussed version of bullying. http://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/teachers-who-bully "A new study, published in The International Journal of Social Psychiatry, hints that the problem may be more common than people believe. In his anonymous survey of 116 teachers at seven elementary schools, more than 70% said they believed that bullying was isolated. But 45% admitted to having bullied a student. "I was surprised at how many teachers were willing to be honest," Twemlow says. He defines teacher bullying as "using power to punish, manipulate, or disparage a student beyond what would be a reasonable disciplinary procedure." As a mother with three children, I have heard my share of this verbal behavior coming from some of their teachers. "Human and burnt out" is not an excuse for some of the horrible comments repeated verbatum to me at the end of a day, and at the point where they were asking for the teachers help in understanding assignments or trying to set up extra help. I certainly appreciate the efforts of the police dept to educate and support anti-bullying programs and events. I thought this was an area to not miss.
Ken Shallcross February 22, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Correct me if I am wrong, but the right to freedom of speech we have been given by the Constitution was intended by our forefathers to guarantee the right to assemble and petition the government without fear of being silenced or punished. This "freedom of speech" was never intended to include the act of insulting, threatening and harassing others – whether online or in any public forum. Unfortunately, right now, many are cowering behind that right to destroy the lives of others. The Cyberbullying loophole needs to be closed. Cyberbullying is slander/ libel and should be considered as such in a court of law. The problem is that the Internet is a safe haven for bullies because of the anonymity. There is not a more cowardly way to bully someone then from behind a curtain. Parents are the key to solving this. They need to get involved and be part of the solution – not part of the problem. If parents feared their child being the bully or passing along the material as much as they care when their child is a victim, it would be a huge step forward. But how do you know if your child is involved in cyberbullying? You need to monitor their Internet activity. Monitoring software like our PC Pandora records everything that happens on the PC. If your child is a victim, you will know; if they are a bully, you will know. Check us out at http://pcpandora.com to see how you can be an active part of the solution instead of a passive part of the problem.

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