Around 18 million American students will be bullied this school year, making it the most common form of violence young people in the US experience, according to the United States Department of Education. This week’s Second Annual Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention Summit, held in Washington, DC, convened experts to address this problem.
Character Education Partnership (CEP)’s President & CEO, Joe Mazzola, was one of approximately 200 researchers, authors, experts, education leaders and heads of non-profit organizations invited to participate.
Mazzola said, “After having attended the Summit, I am convinced more than ever that quality character education can help solve this serious problem that ruins the lives of far too many young people in our nation. From years of studying and evaluating schools across the country, we know that bullying is not a significant problem at a school of character.”
Students who participated on a special panel at the Summit reinforced that very point. For example, one young lady said that if schools created an environment where it was considered “cool to be respectful of one another,” that bullying would become the exception, rather than the rule. Another student said that student bystanders would be more apt to intervene.
To their credit, 47 states have now adopted anti-bullying legislation. The federal response to bullying has never before been better focused or coordinated.
Arne Duncan, US Secretary of Education, said last year in a letter to education professionals, “Bullying can be extremely damaging to students, can disrupt an environment conducive to learning, and should not be tolerated in our schools.”
CEP is targeting bullying prevention at its 18th National Forum on Character Education in San Francisco, Oct. 19-22. A special panel will highlight the event. It will feature educational psychologist, author, and Today show regular Dr. Michele Borba, National School Boards Association Executive Director Dr. Anne Bryant, and digital citizenship expert, Dr. Jason Ohler.
Borba will offer school six strategies to implement right now that don’t cost a cent. Dr. Bryant will report on the “Listening Tour” that local school boards are conducting to learn about the bullying problem directly from students. And Dr. Ohler will discuss the challenges of developing good character and good citizenship in the “anonymous” world of the Internet.
Also at the Forum will be CEP’s exemplar schools: 43 schools and one school district recognized as 2011 National Schools of Character. Educators from these schools will present successful programs and strategies to prevent bullying, close achievement gaps, and create productive learning environments.
To attend the Forum, get anti-bullying resources, or learn more about character education, please visit http://www.character.org.