Published: Tuesday, January 31, 2012
By KYLE WIND
KINGSTON, N.Y. — In the first of a series of conferences designed to take on issues that affect not only the school but also the entire community, Kingston High School will host a summit on bullying from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, March 3.
Principal Adrian Manuel said the events will be designed to make the school a resource for the entire community and create a broader dialogue about the topics, potentially resulting in action.
Manuel said the March 3 event focusing on bullying will begin at 9 a.m. with a 30- to 40-minute presentation, followed by a series of 20- to 30-minute workshops over the next two hours led by experts on the topic ranging from school resource officers to students themselves.
The Ulster County Department of Mental Health, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, the Center for Creative Education, and Ulster BOCES were among the regional organizations to whom the school was reaching out, and Manuel said he is still looking for people with expertise on bullying who want to lead seminars.
Planned topics include advocacy; parent and student support; cultural sensitivity; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning issues; obesity; gang violence and intimidation; and youth leadership, said Manuel.
“There’s all kinds of forms of bullying right now, and not just in school,” said Manuel, noting that one workshop that will be led by school resource officers will focus on cyber bullying.
He cited school shootings, suicides, teen depression, and youths generally not meeting their potential among the consequences of bullying across the nation.
A group of J. Watson Bailey Middle School students who last year formed a group called the Peace Project have noted that 77 percent of students are mentally, physically, or verbally bullied nationally, and 160,000 students miss school each day for fear of being bullied.
Manuel said the event is not just for those of high school age. Whether people are teachers, parents, students, or concerned citizens, people from the entire district and community are invited, he said.