Bullying has been around
for as long as there have been children, but Connecticut parents are
increasingly concerned about it. A 2005 survey revealed that more than one-third of high school
girls in the state and nearly one-third of the boys had been bullied on school property in the
previous year. That's why the Commission, the state Office of the Child Advocate, and their partners organized 'Stand Up to Bullying!', a forum to learn the causes of bullying and explore strategies for making Connecticut safe for learning.
The forum, held on October 22, 2007 at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, drew more than 250 people, ranging from children and their parents to teachers, school administrators, police officers, and social workers.
The keynote address was given by Ken Rigby, Ph.D., an internationally acclaimed expert on bullying prevention. Dr. Rigby, an adjunct research professor and consultant based at the University of South Australia, is the author of "Bullying in Schools and What to Do About It," a book regarded as a standard text on the subject. He was also scheduled to be the featured keynote speaker at an International Bullying Prevention Association conference set to be held shortly after the forum, in November 2007.
Following Rigby's address, a panel of other experts, mostly from Connecticut, discussed various aspects of bullying, including cyberbullying, children with special needs, immigrant children, GLBTQI issues, working the legal system to prevent bullying, and weight bias and body image.
The forum was televised by the Connecticut Network
(CT-N). You may watch a recording of it on
CT-N website, check the
CT-N listings to see if it will be
televised again, or
purchase the program in DVD or VHS
These documents will be handed out at the forum. You may download them here in PDF format.
Those who registered here to attend the forum
were asked to relate episodes or success stories about bullying. They also had a chance to
ask what they wanted to learn at the forum.
Here's what they had to say.
Click on the thumbnails to enlarge. All photos by Pat Estill.
Representative Andrew Fleishmann, co-chairman of the legislature's Education Committee, welcomed the audience.
The audience included these students from the Jamoke Academy in Hartford.
Cerrone Bell, now a student at North Haven High School, described being bullied as a 12-year-old. He was part of a panel of students and adults who gave first-hand accounts of bullying. They were brought together by the Anti-Defamation League.
Guilford parent Jane Olsen, also on the ADL panel, describes how she reacted to learning that her daughter had sent a bullying e-mail.
ADL panelist Nicole Allison talks about the anti-Semitism she encountered in Fairfield schools.
Branford High School student Brady O'Keefe, another one of the speakers on the ADL panel, talks afterward with an audience member.
Dr. Ken Rigby gave the keynote address.
The panel of experts included, from left: Chelsea A. Heuer of Yale University; Dr. William A. Howe of the state Department of Education; Kevin Borrup of the Violence Prevention Program at the Connecticut Children's Medical Center in Hartford; and Karen Zrenda of the Connecticut Family Support Council.
Another member of the expert panel, Debbie Colucci of the Anti-Defamation League, gestures as she discusses cyberbullying.
Representative Bruce Morris was one of several lawmakers who discussed possible future steps at the end of the forum.