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Anti-Bullying Youth Summit Brings Students Together to End Bullying

Students and adults representing 12 middle and high schools in Dutchess, Ulster and Columbia Counties attended the Mediation Center’s 1st Anti-Bullying Youth Summit on November 2, 2012 in Poughkeepsie.

The Summit’s purpose was to bring students together to learn strategies to address bullying when they see it, share experiences and learn from their peers as well as create action plans to begin an anti-bullying movement in their schools. County Executive Marcus Molinaro provided opening remarks, encouraging students to be leaders by standing up for other students who are bullied. Senator Stephen Saland discussed the Dignity for All Students Act that went into effect on July 1, 2012 to protect students from harassment and intimidation.

Bob Woods, Fine Arts teacher and students from Roy C. Ketcham High School led the opening plenary titled, Deleting Bullying: A Student Led Forum on the Prevalence, Impact and Creative Solutions to Address Cyber-Bullying. Summit workshops included Creating a Public Service Announcement for Your School, What do the Adults Need to Know: You Tell Us!, Bystander Beware, In My Shoes, Sharing My Journey, and Safe Spaces: What Students, Teachers and GSA’s Can Do to Address Anti-LGBTQ Bias in Schools. As a result of what they learned at the Summit, students and adults said that they would ‘pay more attention to possible bullying incidents, tell an adult if I witness cyber-bullying, go and sit with a lonely student, not be a bystander, read up on the Dignity for All Students Act, and get more involved instead of just watching.’

The 1st Anti-Bullying Youth Summit is part of the Mediation Center’s Anti-Bullying Initiative launched this year. The Anti-Bullying Initiative’s goal is to engage schools and communities to end bullying by raising awareness and providing prevention and intervention education and programs. For more information about the Anti-Bullying Initiative contact the Mediation Center at 471-7213 or www.dutchessmediation.org.

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