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For many students in the fourteen school districts within Sacramento County and dozens more in outlying areas, attending to school should be, for the most part, happy and memorable.
However for thousands of students who fall under an at-risk category for bullying and peer-abuse, attending school can be extremely stressful, mentally and physically abusive, and at times, simply unbearable.
There is a difference between peer-conflict and outright peer-abuse. Reasons at-risk students are targeted for peer-abuse can be religious, physical attributes, social status, being handicapped, and perceptions of being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.
October is National Anti-bullying Awareness Month and B.R.A.V.E. (Bullies Really are Violating Everyone) Society, a Sacramento grassroots non-profit bringing awareness to the bullying and peer-abuse problem in our schools and community and the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services is sponsoring a bullying awareness conference and community fair.
This informative and fun event is for families, teachers, administrators, professionals and the general public and is entirely free.
Registration begins at 11:30am, Saturday, October, 20, 2012 at the Saca Community Center, 2469 Rio Linda Blvd., Sacramento, CA. The conference portion begins at noon and runs through 3:00pm. A Community Resource Fair will continue through 5:00pm.
For more information contact: Lisafordberry@bravesociety.org or visit the web site at www.BraveSociety.org.
The conference opens with a short welcome and entertainment from the Maquilli Tonatiua Aztec Dancers and Jovi Radtke, spoken word artist who will perform an original piece for this event. In addition, peer abuse survivors, 7 year old Giovanni Sandoval , and Veronica Sukkary will offer words of encouragement.
Between 12:30pm and 1:00pm Deborah Shafer , mother of two children who watched her youngest child suffer at the hands of her child’s peers through cyberbullying will speak to others encouraging them to stand up and, “Say Something”.
Lisa Ford Berry , founder of B.R.A.V.E. Society and mother of two sons, the youngest son she lost in 2008 on his 17th birthday due to a peer abuse driven bullycide in response to relentless hate-biased cyberbullying, will tell her story and address being able to “Do Something”.
From 1:00 – 3:00pm conference attendees will be encouraged to move to breakout sessions to learn more about how to make their schools and community a safer place.
“Bullying 101” is a session that will answer the question: What is bullying, who bullies and why? There also be tips for family members and friends of bullying victims. Matt Huckabay, Executive Director at the Center for Violence Free Relationships and President of the Board of Directors for the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault and several other professional organizations will facilitate this session.
In the next session, “Caring and Courageous Kids” facilitator, Dee Di Gis, school Speech Language Therapist, wrote and directed a film, Which Team Will You Choose. She will screen and talk about working with students in her school who were affected by bullying as well as those who have witnessed bullying, but did not know what to do help their fellow students.
“Seth’s Law, and What You Can Do” is an important session anyone who knows a student in school or is in some way connected with a school will want to attend. Facilitators James Gilliam, a well-known attorney and Executive Director of the ACLU of Southern California and John Merical, retired Police Captain from the Sacramento City Police Department and current director for Oak Park Outreach Service will lead a discussion on Seth’s Law which became law as of July 1, 2012.
This law requires all public schools to put procedures in place to address incidents of bullying and to explicitly state their policies on discrimination against gay and lesbian students as well as against all other minorities.
“The Justice League” is a forum that will offer insights and tips for parents, legal guardians, and educators to learn how to distinguish the difference between peer abuse and peer conflict and to reinforce their roles as trusted resources to help students as heroes to confront the bullying in constructive and safe ways.
The two facilitators of this session include: Joanna Jullien , mother of two sons, trained at U.C. Berkeley in Social Anthropology. She is also author of the ebook, “The Authority In Me: The Power of Family Life in the Network Culture – A Parent’s Voice in the Cyber Wilderness”. Valinda Frost was a victim of peer abuse while growing up in poverty. Today she has earned her M.A. in education with duel emphasis on Curriculum and Instruction and Administrative Leadership and currently working on her doctorate.
“Resiliency Ready” will be facilitated by Dr. Shadi Jani M.D ., a physician with an extensive background in Social and Community medicine and Margaret Scott, Professor of Psychology at American River College. Those who attend this breakout session get to understand the ability of individuals, families and communities to effectively handle and overcome adversity or significant stress in ways that are not only effective but promote health, wellness and lead to an increased ability to act in response to future life crises.
In “Safety and Security”, attendees will learn how families can stay safe using the internet at home. Facilitators include: Linda McCarthy is the former Senior Director of Internet Safety at Symantec, and has 20+ years’ experience helping families and corporations with security. McCarthy is the author of “Own Your Space”, the most downloaded security content for teens in the world.
Nicholas Phirippidis, FBI Special Agent is assigned to the Violent Crimes Against Children Squad of the Sacramento FBI field office where he has been investigating child pornography and cyber terrorism investigations for the past five years, will give a presentation on “FBI Internet Safety.” Topics covered will be social networking, cyberbullying, sexting, and share a few real-life FBI case studies.
From 3:00pm to 5:00pm there will be a free and fun Community Resource Fair for the entire family. There will be street entertainers, free food, and several organizations that will be on hand to offer their services and valuable information to the community.
The Sacramento Kings Dancers will be our special guests and will perform two dances for everyone attending.
For the youth in attendance there will be martial arts demonstrations , a mini basketball camp , and children will be encouraged to wear their Halloween costumes.
In addition door prizes and much more will be offered to make the conference and fair both informative and fun for the entire family.