A conference addressing school bullying aims to tackle taboo topics Thursday at Metro Tech Springlake, providing intervention and prevention tools to:
" counselors and
" mental health professionals.
Statistics suggest a need for this program, according to Randy Tate, chair of the "Stop Hate in the Hallways" event, in a press release. Nationally, he said, "nearly two-thirds of teens report that they have been harassed or assaulted because of perceived or actual appearance, gender, sexual orientation, gender expression, race, ethnicity, disability or religion."
In the state, that translated to more than 11,000 reported bullying incidents in schools during the 2004-2005 school year, according to press materials.
The conference also will cover:
" anti-violence classroom strategies.
" creating a respectful school.
" cyber bullying.
" religion as a cause and cure.
Keynote speaker Kevin Jennings has written on school safety for gay and lesbian students, an area where McAffrey said better guidelines for quashing bullying could be beneficial.
"When you don't have a "¦ school policy against hate or bullying in the school system, then we don't have any guidelines," said Rep. Al McAffrey, D-Oklahoma City, who will hold an immigration issues and bullying session. "We need guidelines; we need to say this is the policy of Oklahoma City school system or XYZ school, and this is what we classify as hazing, bullying. I think a clear policy is just an advantage to everybody."
For more information, call 858-2700 or visit their site. "Emily Jerman