Bullying symposium designed to find solutions
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Monday, Dec. 31, 2012

Bullying symposium designed to find solutions

Joined in Education nonprofit group seeks a ‘kinder’ Charlotte

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Joined in Education’s Stand Up to Bullying seminar will be Jan. 15 at the Knight Theater, 430 S. Tryon St., and Jan. 16 at Levine Jewish Community Center, 5007 Providence Road in Charlotte. Ticket prices vary; available at  www.joinedineducation.org; email  Info@JoinedInEducation.org or call  704-366-4558.

This story appeared Sunday in some of the Observer’s regional publications.

“This year, 13 million American kids will be bullied. Three million students will be absent because they feel unsafe at school,” according to The Bully Project website.

Bullying has become a hot topic among students, parents and educators.

“There are initiatives for bullying all over the place,” said Mariashi Groner, director of Charlotte Jewish Day School.

Groner; Elka Bernstein, director of the Charlotte Jewish Preschool; Dedee Goldsmith, director of the Jewish Preschool on Sardis; and Gale Osborne, director of advancement at CJDS, decided to focus on bullying as the theme of the second Joined in Education symposium.

Joined in Education is a nonprofit organization formed by three educational entities: the Charlotte Jewish Preschool, Charlotte Jewish Day School and the Jewish Preschool on Sardis. The CJP and CJDS campuses are in Shalom Park; JPS is on Sardis Road.

Joined in Education’s Stand Up to Bullying symposium was designed to give experts and the community a chance to connect, share resources and collaborate on solutions.

“The symposium will focus on educating parents, teens, teachers and school administrators about bullying, and empowering them with the words and strategies to impact change in their environment,” said Osborne.

Stand Up to Bullying will begin Jan. 15 at the Knight Theater, 430 S. Tryon St.  CMS Superintendent Heath Morrison will introduce guest speaker Lee Hirsch, the critically acclaimed director of the documentary “Bully.”

Anne Tompkins from the Department of Justice also will speak.

Hirsch will use 20-30 clips from “Bully” to address the issue of bullying, which affects every community.

“Bully” documents the stories of five children and their families. Each story “represents a different facet of America’s bullying crisis,” according to the film’s production notes.

“We are working with individuals and organizations to build a movement to end bullying activity,” said Hirsch. His website, www.thebullyproject.com, provides information and resources.

“Hirsch is compelling and conveys a sense of urgency for engagement,” said Osborne.

The dialogue will continue Jan. 16 at the Levine Jewish Community Center with a full day of workshops led by nationally recognized speakers, including Michelle Icard of Athena’s Path and Hero’s Pursuit, and Bassie Shemtov, co-founder of the Friendship Circle.

Keynote speaker Barbara Coloroso – an international best-selling author, speaker and consultant on bullying – will speak about several bullying-related topics.

Late-afternoon sessions will focus on bully-proofing classrooms; middle school madness; and upper school issues.

“The goal of the workshops is to provide the attendees with the words to use and the actions to look for to either stop bullying or to prevent it before it begins,” said Osborne.

To have all these speakers in Charlotte during the two-day event is a unique opportunity, said Osborne.

Stand Up to Bullying organizers Groner, Bernstein, Goldsmith, and Osborne said the symposium is getting support from more than 30 community foundations, corporations and individuals.

“Some of our more notable sponsors are The Leon Levine Foundation, the Duke Energy Foundation, CMS, Coca Cola, the Foundation for the Carolinas, Novant Healthcare, the Gorelick Foundation and the Blumenthal Foundation,” said Osborne. “We also have students, teachers and administrators attending from many of the independent schools, public schools and parochial schools.

“We believe that it is important to have involvement from all parts of the greater community to truly educate the population and try to affect change here in Charlotte, and make it a kinder environment,” said Osborne.

Marissa Brooks is a freelance writer for South Charlotte News. Have a story idea for Marissa? Email her at mbrookspt@earthlink.net.

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