Sunday, November 6, 2011

Bullying Prevention Forum Recap

Bullying among students with disabilities was the main topic at a forum held last month at Sinergia, who was designated as a champion partner in Pacer's National Bullying Prevention Program. "What we did was unique because we had parents and students participating in separate activities that addressed bullying simultaneously," explains Cassandra Archie, co-director of Sinergia's Metropilitan Parent Center.

The afternoon kicked off with a skit performed by Day Hab Program participants. "Armando, Terri, Trish, Emmanuel, and Vanessa practiced their lines for a full week before the event on the 19th," said Day Habilitation Art Specialist Erin McSorley. "They depicted a scene on a bus where an individual is targeted by a bully, but is encouraged by her friend's words and stands up to the bully. The actors really enjoyed being involved with the event and also had the opportunity to practice what to do if faced with a real bully," she added. The performers in the skit were all young adults, highlighting the fact that bullying and harassment can occur to older people as well.

After that there was a "speak out" for parents, to give them information and resources, while at the same time, the children gathered in the art studio to paint an anti-bullying banner, also organized by Erin.

Finally, everyone came together and the children talked about their experiences with bullying. Parents shared stories and one described how their child didn't want them to come to their school, and instead wanted to work it out themselves. The parent's immediate response was "I'm going to the school," and the child was against that because it would be embarrassing. In the end they called and spoke to the principal.

Another parent talked about her daughter who was bullied not only in school but also in her own neighborhood, so it spilled out onto the community. They contacted the parent of the bully and had a discussion. It worked out so well that now the (former) bully and the woman's daughter get along and there's no more harassment. We'd like to thank our wonderful sponsors for making this event possible: Dunkin Donuts, Subway, McDonald's (Lexington Ave.), Quality Natural Food Restaurant, Affinity Health Plan, the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, Fabco Shoes and Pathmark supermarkets.

Visit Sinergia's Facebook page to view the pictures from the event.

"Respect For All"  is NYC Chancellor's piece on anti bullying. It has a poster and brochure available with answers to:
  • What happens to bullies?
  • What is considered harassment?
  • What are some examples of banned behavior?
  • What should students do if they are being bullied?
To view it click here and this is the version in Spanish

Hotline for students who are experiencing bullying. This service is a result of a collaboration between the teacher's union (UFT) and the NYC Mental Health Association. It will be staffed from 2:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, by professionals from the Mental Health Association of New York City. Students can call for services in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese and other languages, translated immediately.
Hotline: 212-709-3222

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