That’s the message USD 428 is serious about conveying. And to prove it, a three-day, anti-bulling workshop was held last week at the District Education Center for 35 school and other professionals.
Using a train-the-trainer format, nationally acclaimed anti-bulling expert SuEllen Fried led the group in “empowerment sessions” that attendees will take back to their schools and businesses in order to continue spreading her anti-bulling message.
“We want to empower the students to stop the intentional pain of bullying,” Fried said.
She has been involved with different aspects of bullying since 1976, long before it came into the public consciousness. In fact, she wrote her first book, “Bullies & Victims – Helping Your Child through the Schoolyard Battlefield,” in 1996, three years before Columbine first thrust bullying and its consequences into the national limelight.
“I have been deeply involved as a volunteer in the prevention of child abuse,” Fried explained.
Her concern for the cruelty of children to each other led her to co-author a total of three books. The latest is “Banishing Bullying Behavior – Transforming the Culture of Pain, Rage & Revenge” which will be released in its second edition later this year.
“I have worked with over 85,000 students in 36 states during the past 17 years, conducting student empowerment sessions in public, private and parochial classrooms in rural, urban and suburban settings,” she said. “Their insights and their pain have led me to design workshops for teachers, administrators and parents to change the culture of our schools.
In 2002, Fried founded BullySafeUSA, working with colleagues nationwide who share her passion to prevent bullying.
“We conduct ‘train the trainer’ training institutes, speak at conferences and work with school districts to develop a comprehensive approach to prevent bullying,” she said.
Dwight Young, USD 428 Board of Education president and mental health professional, attended the workshop.
“Bullying is important to both schools and mental health because bullying creates pain and rage that leads to revenge,” Young said. “School shootings don’t happen by bullies, but by the targets of bullies who are seeking revenge.
“We have to start stopping the pain somewhere,” Young said. “It’s like (the) smoking (initiative). It will take years to have a lasting effect.”