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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

ABCs of Bullying Prevention: Addressing Bullying in Community Settings

With the passage of Public Act 241 on December 6, 2011, Michigan became the 48th state to require schools to  develop and enforce policies to protect students from harassment, intimidation and physical violence. This act, known as "Matt's Safe School Law," requires that all school district boards (including the boards of local districts,  intermediate districts, and charter schools) adopt and implement a policy no later than six months after the passage of this legislation. 

While this law is a significant step for addressing bullying and violence within school settings, support is needed to help adults learn more about these issues and ways they can work with young people across communities to foster healthy relationships and positive settings. Studies have shown that young people benefit from time spent in positive and safe settings with adults and peers – and educators, youth workers and families all have important roles to play in creating environments that foster healthy social and emotional development.

Providing adults with opportunities to explore and connect around these issues is the focus of a workshop currently offered through Michigan State  University Extension titled ABCs of Bullying Prevention: Addressing Bullying in Community Settings. This half-day workshop is designed for adults who live with, care about and work with young people, including parents, caregivers and those who work in schools, youth and family agencies, youth organizations (such as 4-H, Scouts, and Boys and Girls Clubs), juvenile justice, faith-based communities, recreation departments and other community groups. 

The workshop will be facilitated by MSU Extension program leaders Janet Olsen and Karen Pace, who have spent the last decade providing community education connecting issues of bullying prevention, social justice and youth development. During the ABCs of Bullying Prevention workshop, participants will:
 Share perspectives on the prevalence and types of bullying behaviors affecting their communities – and explore how these perspectives connect with recent research.
Examine bullying, bias and harassment through the lens of differences.
Explore key strategies for addressing these complex issues at the personal, interpersonal, institutional and cultural
Learn about programs and resources that can be used in community settings, including a new MSU Extension initiative titled Be SAFE: Safe, Affirming and Fair Environments.

The ABCs of Bullying Prevention: Addressing Bullying in Community Settings workshop and the Be SAFE: Safe, Affirming and Fair Environments initiative are educational programs of the MSU Extension Institute for Improving Health and Nutrition designed to promote social and emotional health and well-being. The overarching goal of these efforts is to help young people and the adults in their lives learn to foster healthy relationships, so they can live, learn and grow in safe, affirming and fair environments free from violence, abuse, bullying and harassment. Be SAFE is being developed in partnership with the MSU Extension Institute for Children and Youth.

For more information or to register contact:  Suzanne Pish, Extension Educator at 517-279-4311 or pishs@anr.msu.edu