Current weather

  • Broken clouds
  • 34°
    Broken clouds
  • Comment

Nonprofit hosts bullying event

Harrassment of children with disabilities a lingering concern

Posted: October 29, 2012 - 10:13pm  |  Updated: October 29, 2012 - 10:15pm

Communication is essential to breaking the cycle of bullying. For example, tell your children their options for dealing with a bully, said Carla Abild, parent navigator with Stone Soup Group.

Abild recounted the reaction of a parent during a previous bullying prevention event.

“We had one parent laugh and say, ‘Yeah, my son has Aspergers (syndrome), he probably could recite the entire school policy to a bully, but I don’t think that would help.’ But letting your child know what some of the rules are and what they can do to help is important,” she said.

Two parent navigators with Stone Soup Group, an Anchorage-based nonprofit that supports families who care for children with special needs, visited the Kenai Peninsula last week. Teachers from local schools and a small number of parents attended the bullying prevention event, gathering knowledge and resources. The event addressed many aspects of bullying; the presenter discussed topics ranging from cyber bullying to disability-related bullying.

The event was geared toward parents. The nonprofit provided a folder of materials, which included information sheets titled “Bullying and harassment of students with disabilities,” “Common views and myths about bullying,” and “Steps to take if your child is being bullied at school,” among others.

The nonprofit works closely with PACER Center, a national bullying prevention organization. The center designed most of the training and materials provided at the event.

Abild highlighted the online resources available through PACER’s website and offered her own advice.

“It’s everyone’s responsibility,” she reiterated throughout the event.

Bullying is generally defined as a power struggle. If children are having difficulty emotionally or physically defending themselves, it’s bullying, according to PACER.

Abild said the definition of bullying usually includes repeated behaviors, but she disagrees.

“The first time you see (bullying) you want to stop it,” she said. “You don’t want to wait four or five times to make sure it’s a pattern.”

Alaska’s anti-bullying laws include the terms harassment, intimidation and bullying. There are no specific groups listed as protected under the laws, but schools that receive federal funding are required to address discrimination. Alaska’s schools can adopt a state-model policy for bullying, which the Kenai Peninsula School District has done.

Verbal bullying is quick and direct. Children with Aspergers syndrome often fall victim to this type of bullying because they’re easy targets. Classmates will rile them up on purpose, Abild said.

Physical bullying is easy to recognize. It greatly affects children with sensory issues. The fear of physical danger can lead to stress and sickness. Children will pretend to be sick or become ill as a result of physical bullying, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Emotional bullying, like manipulation and gossip; sexual bullying, like violation of personal space to rape; and cyber bullying, described by PACER as the “new bathroom wall” are other types of bullying.

Kids with disabilities are two to three times more likely to experience one or multiple types of bullying, Abild said.

A main area of concern for advocates is the potential of students dropping out of school. Children — those with and without disabilities — become afraid of school. Multiple studies indicate about 160,000 students miss school every day due to bullying.

Parents of children with disabilities struggle to show their kids that they are in fact being bullied.

Tonja Updike, who has worked with the Peninsula Community Health Service’s (PCHS) Children’s Health Improvement Program, sits on a state board that addresses autism. She also works in the Peninsula’s schools to teach young students about disabilities.

Despite her continued work with children she struggles to teach her own son about bullying, she said. Doctors diagnosed her son, 10-year-old Garrett, with autism when he was 18 months old.

“It’s much easier to talk about the concept of bullying to children, but my son doesn’t fully understand,” Updike said. “That’s a question that remains unanswered in a lot of ways. I can document things, but I can’t be around him 24/7 and neither can the school employees, so that’s a lingering concern.”

Another parent who attended the event echoed those concerns. Leslie Rohr’s 10-year-old son experienced bullying. Fellow fifth-graders taunted and tormented him, she said.

The parents, however, sat down with their son’s teacher, who agreed to discuss autism with the class while her son was absent. The difference was remarkable, Rohr said.

But adults tend to judge people with disabilities more severely, Updike lamented.

“It’s easier to talk to children, because they have less of a concrete idea about how people should be,” she said. “Adults already have their ideas and don’t want to change.”

The parents appreciated the guidance in local and state resources during the event, they said.

PCHS’s children’s program hopes to host more events throughout this school year.

Jerzy Shedlock can be reached at jerzy.shedlock@peninsulaclarion.com.

Bullying resources:

Stone Soup Group — www.stonesoupgroup.com. Website includes blogs about bullying and family support resources, including parent training materials, an autism family support center and FASD family support materials.

Peninsula Community Health Services of Alaska — www.pchsak.org. The center’s Children’s Health Improvement Program works with families to address bullying and other health concerns.

PACER CENTER — www.pacer.org. Multiple programs and publications about bullying are available.

Stopbullying.gov — This website includes information about Alaska’s anti-bullying laws and policies.

“Dear Colleague” letter — This letter, available on the U.S. Department of Education’s website, addresses bullying as a civil rights issue. It gives detailed accounts of real situations and how they should have been handled.

  • Comment

Comments (5) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
spwright
1376
Points
spwright 10/30/12 - 04:44 pm
0
0
Protect Your Child

Tue 10/30/12
Yes I am from a Older Generation & I have a different viewpoint about "Bullying"

I was taught as a Parent it is your responsibility to Protect Your Children.

Many of these policies at the School Dist ONLY work in the protected environment of a School, School Playground or a local Church or events that have Adult Supervision.

What happens when Your Child is Alone & there is No One to Help? The Child must be able to Defend Themselves & to Fight Back. You as a Parent are responsible to Teach Your Child Self Defence. To give Your Child the skills & knowledge to Defend Themselves with confidence.

Bullies don't pick on the strong & confident that will Fight Back. Bullies seek out the weak & timid that will not fight back.

It is Your Duty as a Parent to Teach Your Child Self Defence.

SPW"Airborne"

Watchman on the Wall
2893
Points
Watchman on the Wall 10/30/12 - 09:02 pm
1
1
SPW IS RIGHT

SPW IS RIGHT AND WITH THE POSSIBILITY OF HIS CHOSEN ONE BEING REELECTED AND THE NEED FOR EVERY ONE TO BE ABLE TO STAND AND FIGHT WHATS COMING, WE ALL NEED TO BE LEARNING HOW TO FIGHT EVIL.
THINGS ARE NOT GOING TO GET BETTER AS TIME ROLLS ON AND MORE ABUSE AND CRIME WILL ESCALDE DOWN ONTO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND THE WEAK WILL SUFFER THE MOST UNLESS THE LEARN TO FIGHT EVILS SPREAD.
OF COURSE HELP FROM JESUS ALSO HELPS IN THIS FIGHT AGAINST EVIL, BUT WE CAN'T USE HIS HELP ANY LONGER AS IT'S POLITICALLY INCORRECT AND OFFENSIVE. BUT allah's HELP IS ABSOLUTELY USELESS, SO WHAT ARE WE TO DO?

TSM
5
Points
TSM 11/01/12 - 07:50 am
0
0
Bullys/but teachers and staff have a part as well

What I have found to be in the Kenai High school is the teachers pets are the ones that get away with it. So, my daughter changed schools. As long as they are teachers pets or their parent's are known in the community, they will be the one's that get away with it. Or the school will tell you "boys will be boys" that excuse doesn't cut it. It's never okay for a boy to full on punch a girl unless she hit him first, but if he says it was only a joke than everything is fine. And my daughters made out to be an over sensitive tattle tale. Kenai High School sucks.

spwright
1376
Points
spwright 11/01/12 - 08:06 am
0
1
TSM

Thur 11/1/12
IF all that You have shared is True. You need to make a appt w/ the School Principal. Adminstration is Required to investigate & follow thru. It's mandatory.

I would suggest a video that will provide Proof instead of a He Said She Said situation.
Cell phones w/ cameras are literately everywhere.
BTW That Punch that you spoke about. That is Assault
& a crime.

It is your Responsiblity as a Parent to Protect Your Child.
Writing to the local newspaper does nothing
Stand Up & Do the Right Thing.

SPW"Airborne"

Watchman on the Wall
2893
Points
Watchman on the Wall 11/01/12 - 09:20 am
1
1
No God EQUALS No Morals

Of course i realize that a Lack of Morals and acknowledgement of God has been around for many yrs in peoples lives but since the Pledge of Allegians and school prayer to God has been removed OUR Society and especilly schools and children have gone down in moral issues to the point of no return and Bully abuse is an acceptable alternative now.
Why would anyone think that people should care about anyone else or stand up for anyone else when there is no MORAL COMPASS by which to guide us or our kids any longer? You can't and we don't and how can we when we have no guide lines or teachings for such things in this "HAVE IT YOUR WAY" SOCIETY?
We see all around us the Moral breakdown of OUR Society from our allowing God to be removed from OUR lives and National Identity and so we suffer from the spread of evil and it's getting worse and will continue to do so as long as we continue down this road with out that Moral Compass from Gods rules which were ment to Govern the Societies of men for the Good of ALL.
We get what we work for as a WHOLE SOCIETY, NOT A SELECT FEW and when Moralless people rule and govern then WE ALL SUFFER AND ARE DESTROYED AS A SOCIETY.
It's gonna get much worse as we continue down OUR CHOSEN ONES ROAD OF HOPELESSNESS, AS WE ALLOW OUR MORAL FUNDAMENTALS TO BE CHANGED FOR EVIL FUNDAMENTALS.

Back to Top

Spotted

Please Note: You may have disabled JavaScript and/or CSS. Although this news content will be accessible, certain functionality is unavailable.

Skip to News

« back

next »

  • title http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/321268/ http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/321253/ http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/321248/
  • title http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/321243/ http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/321208/ http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/320593/
  • title http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/321173/ http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/321163/
My Gallery

CONTACT US

  • 150 Trading Bay Rd, Kenai, AK 99611
  • Switchboard: 907-283-7551
  • Circulation and Delivery: 907-283-3584
  • Newsroom Fax: 907-283-3299
  • Business Fax: 907-283-3299
  • Accounts Receivable: 907-335-1257
  • View the Staff Directory
  • or Send feedback

ADVERTISING

SUBSCRIBER SERVICES

SOCIAL NETWORKING

MORRIS ALASKA NEWS