Event Aimed at Combating Bullying (SunSentinel)

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EVENT AIMED AT COMBATING BULLYING

By Scott Fishman,
Forum Publishing Group
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November 6, 2014 | 2:55 PM

Country singer Lizzie Sider was relentlessly teased in elementary school — but she was later able to channel her experiences into something positive.

The Boca Raton native, 16, has shared her story with students during her national “No One Has the Power to Ruin Your Day” anti-bullying tour. She recently was part of a panel for the “Banishing Bullying: Be Part of the Solution” symposium at the Sunrise Civic Center.

“The cause hits close to home for me,” said Sider, whose song “Butterfly” has an ant-bullying message. “It was a struggle. It was hard, but coming out of it, I was so much stronger. What I do in these assemblies is couple my music with my age and message.”

Sunrise Police Officer Miles Robison, who works at Piper High School, said bullying is a growing problem.

“In the school setting, the school has the resources and protocol, but outside, it’s hard to monitor this stuff,” he said. “… That’s a big concern to people. … The main thing is reporting and trying to get the whole conflict in the open between the parties.”

Trish Ramsay, education director of the Melissa Institute, said there are many kinds of bullying, including physical, verbal, social and emotional and in cyberspace.

“It’s a huge issue of violence in schools,” she said. “We know that aggressive behavior tends to consolidate at age 8. So if a child is used to getting their way through bullying others or any form of aggression, it sets a pattern. So the earlier the better when it comes to having the children develop empathy.”

After the panel spoke, there was a showing of the “Bully” documentary.

Stephane Monereau, Piper High teacher, gathered information to take back to the school’s new anti-bullying club.

“We want to partner up with other clubs in the school to create our own symposium and have these honest conversations with the students,” Monereau said. “We are also going to reach out to middle and elementary schools with the same idea there.”

Club president Leonard Peterson said he learned a lot about the issue.

“I wanted to learn more about bullying and what we can do to help others,” he said. “There is bullying everywhere. Those people who are silenced and aren’t able to tell anyone, we are there for them. We want to give them a voice and hope.”

The event was presented by Baptist Health.

“If you’re a parent of someone who is being bullied or a parent of the bully, there is help out there,” said Daniel Rodriguez, a Baptist Health community program coordinator. “We want them to see that there are people out there doing something about it.”

Scott Fishman can be reached at smfishman@tribune.com.

Copyright © 2014, Sun Sentinel

Original article: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/broward/sunrise/fl-cn-bullying-1109-20141106-story.html

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