Empty seats greeted clinical psychologists Sarah Edwards and Sheila Clark for their free workshop on October 30. Only a photographer and reporter showed up to see the research prepared to inform the community about cyberbullying.
Experts Say It Will Take a Community To Stop Bullying And Cyberbullying
By Patric Hedlund
It came as a blow to two psychologists on October 30 when nobody came to their free community workshop about cyberbullying.
Sarah Edwards and Shelia Clark invested significant time to research the fact-rich presentation, covering a wide range of topics.
Here are some of the questions to which you may have found answers if you had been there:
- What are the differences between “face to face bullying” and cyberbullying? What are the emerging legal issues around the new phenomenon?
- Why are remedies such as mediation and conflict resolution not effective when it comes to dealing with electronic harassment?
- Why is the cyberbully often “the teacher’s pet” with high self-esteem?
- Are school administrators trying to duck responsibility? Should they wait to act until legislators catch up with changes in technology?
- How can parents provide responsible guidance for their children’s use of social media technology and why are parents likely to be the last to know if their kids are bullies or victims?
- Why are victims so fearful of letting their parents know what is happening?
- Why do professionals fear that the sudden pervasive growth of cyberbullying may lead to a surge in teenage suicides?
A Second Chance
The community had something of a second chance on Saturday, Nov. 6 when Scott Parsons arranged a forum on teen issues and bullying. He invited Superintendent Katy Kleier and Frazier Mountain High School Principal Dan Penner. Both said they might participate, and then cancelled.
He sent invitations to Kern County’s expert on bullying in schools and asked Stephanie Papas of the state’s office for school safety and prevention of violence to come. He asked parents and invited teachers.
Parsons received enthusiastic support from the county’s Linda Sargent and the state’s Stephanie Papas. They provided materials and guidance.
Shelia Clark distributed a thick hand-out with information on the subject.
But there was only one parent of a child currently attending a public school, and she is the president of the El Tejon Unified School District Board of Trustees.
Kern County Sergeant Mark Brown gave useful information, as did Alan Salazar.
We’ll look at the details in part two, next week.
I just wanted to say thank you for all your help and support with getting the forum together. It was good to see more people taking an interest in the community; however it is really disturbing to me that more parents are not seeing the writing on the wall here.
I know of several parents who have students who are at risk and can only guess that it is their ignorance of the technology landscape that made them absent from both the Cyberbullying Workshop on the October 30 and the Forum on Teen Issues that we presented on Saturday night.
The “it’s not my kid” attitude is disheartening and the lack of presence by people associated with the school district is even more so. We will plan to do this again after the holiday, maybe some people will wake up by then.
Read coverage of previous events:
This is part of the November 12, 2010 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
Have an opinion on this matter? We'd like to hear from you.