Anti-bullying speaker to address adults, youth

In recent years, bullying has become a more widely-recognized and better understood phenomenon. Many school boards are implementing anti-bullying curriculums, teaching children that it’s unacceptable behaviour.
But most education professionals will admit that more needs to be done to stem the worrying tide of bullying among children.
That’s why the Fort Frances High School Council decided to bring in world-renowned author and speaker Barbara Coloroso to help educate parents, students, and education and child care professionals about the dynamics of bullying—and how to stop it.
“We decided this was an issue we would like to address,” said council chair Rooksana Randeree.
The problem, she said, is that kids often are too ashamed to talk to their parents when they are bullied, so it’s important for adults to recognize the signs.
Coloroso has written a book on the subject, entitled “The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander,” dealing with how people who witness bullying can play an important role in stopping it.
“In the past, the bully and the bullied have been focused, but I think the bystanders now have to take responsibility for things,” Randeree said. “It’s important to recognize that everybody is a part of bullying.
“I think everybody will learn something valuable from it.”
Coloroso will be in Fort Frances on Sept. 16 and 17. On the Friday, she will give a two-hour talk at 7 p.m. in the Townshend Theatre. It is aimed at parents and children age 12 and older, with tickets costing $15 and $10, respectively.
Coloroso then will hold an all-day workshop on the Saturday, aimed at professionals who work with youth, although parents also are welcome to register.
The workshop costs $50, which includes lunch.
Anyone interested in attending can pick up a registration form at the high school. Posters also have been put up at the Fort Frances Public Library, the Memorial Sports Centre, and some local churches.
“We wanted to make it affordable for everybody to come, but we did need to charge a bit,” Randeree said.
Coloroso’s fee is $6,000 (U.S.), but many community partners have come forward to help defray the costs.
Both local school boards have contributed funds, as well as Abitibi-Consolidated, the United Native Friendship Centre, and other local organizations.
Super 8 is donating Coloroso’s hotel stay.
“We’re grateful for all the financial and participation support,” said Jean Hebert, who sits on the FFHS council’s anti-bullying subcommittee. School principals across the district also have been very supportive of the event, she added.
Hebert said there has been good response from the public so far.
“We have enough that it’s a go, but we’re hoping more people will come and benefit by it,” she remarked.
Hebert noted space is limited for the all-day workshop on the Saturday, so those interested should submit their registration forms to the high school as soon as possible.