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Who We Are »
Betsy Combier

Help Us to Continue to Help Others »
Email: betsy.combier@gmail.com

 
The E-Accountability Foundation announces the

'A for Accountability' Award

to those who are willing to whistleblow unjust, misleading, or false actions and claims of the politico-educational complex in order to bring about educational reform in favor of children of all races, intellectual ability and economic status. They ask questions that need to be asked, such as "where is the money?" and "Why does it have to be this way?" and they never give up. These people have withstood adversity and have held those who seem not to believe in honesty, integrity and compassion accountable for their actions. The winners of our "A" work to expose wrong-doing not for themselves, but for others - total strangers - for the "Greater Good"of the community and, by their actions, exemplify courage and self-less passion. They are parent advocates. We salute you.

Winners of the "A":

Johnnie Mae Allen
David Possner
Dee Alpert
Joan Klingsberg
Harris Lirtzman
Hipolito Colon
Jim Calantjis
Larry Fisher
The Giraffe Project and Giraffe Heroes' Program
Jimmy Kilpatrick and George Scott
Zach Kopplin
Matthew LaClair
Wangari Maathai
Erich Martel
Steve Orel, in memoriam, Interversity, and The World of Opportunity
Marla Ruzicka, in Memoriam
Nancy Swan
Bob Witanek
Peyton Wolcott
[ More Details » ]
 
Bullying Must Stop
What is your state, community, and school doing to stop bullying and harassing behavior? New York State gets an "F".
          
NY State of Bullying: State Legislature rates 'F' for laws to protect schoolkids: Bully Police
BY Joe Dziemianowicz, DAILY NEWS WRITER, Wednesday, March 31st 2010, 2:19 PM
LINK

Bully Police, a national watchdog group, has given the Empire State its lowest possible grade for not passing a law to protect schoolkids from bullies.

It’s not that the state has buried its head in the sand. Legislators have been working on a bullying law for a full decade now. But it has yet to pass.

Why?

Brenda High, 57, a married mom and the founder of Bully Police, believes it’s about the insistence on language in the law designed to give certain groups of kids special protection. Gay kids and children with special needs are two prime examples, according to her.

“It’s been a sticking point for many states,” says High. “Lawmakers won’t admit it.”

High speaks with some authority on the subject of bullying. She started the group after her 12-year-old son, Jared, shot and killed himself as the result of being harassed in 1998.

“Every year, New York makes up something, but it always falls apart,” the advocate said from her home in Pasco, Wash. “It’s a matter of the politicians’ philosophy. Any law that has inclusive language in it is going to make conservatives mad. And if it doesn’t have inclusive language, it makes liberals mad. I think that’s usually the reason laws don’t pass.”

Daryl Presgraves, spokesman for GLSEN (The Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network), begs to differ.

“You can’t speculate on the reasons (the law) is being held up,” he says. “But if it is being held up because lawmakers don’t want to protect LGBT students from bullying, then that’s tragic. And when you pass a general bill, without enumerated categories of protection, that’s what happens.”

Regardless, High emphasizes that “victims are not the problem. They never have been. Doesn’t matter if they’re black, white, gay, straight, pretty, ugly: If you stop the bullies, you’ll stop the bullying”.

As High sees it, “Each state is responsible for its citizens. Every year New York’s lawmakers fail to pass legislation to protect its children, they fail those children.”

So how can our state turn that F into an A?

High recommends N.Y. lawmakers look to Massachusetts, which, she says, is poised to pass bullying legislation that will give schools the authority to decide what their harassment and discrimination policies will include.

“It’s genius,” she says, “because the state is not going to micromanage the school district.”

New York isn’t the only state to rate a failing grade in High’s system. It shares that sad berth with Hawaii, Michigan, the Dakotas and three other states.

Meanwhile, six states get the top, A++ rating, including Delaware and Florida.

To get the Bully Police’s top rating, the law must do several things. It must put the emphasis on victims, feature a victims’ rights clause about free counseling for those who have been bullied and also include a cyberbullying clause.

with additional reporting by Jim Farber

New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services gives advice on dealing with cyberbullying
Tuesday, March 30th 2010, 10:35 PM
LINK

- Discourage your child from responding to cyberbullying. Cyberbullies crave attention, so if
your child doesn’t react, they might decide to move on.

- Preserve evidence. This is crucial for indentifying the bully and making a case.

- Try to identify the cyberbully. Even if the cyberbully is anonymous or using a fake name, there may be ways to track the person through their Internet service provider. If you suspect that the
cyberbully is involved in criminal activity, ask police to investigate.

- Consider contacting providers and filing complaints. Sending inappropriate language may violate the “Terms and Conditions” of e-mail services, Internet service providers, Web sites and cell phone companies.

- Block future contact. If the cyber-bullying is coming through e-mail or a cell phone, it may be possible to do this.

- Contact your school. If the cyber-bullying is occurring through a school district system, school administrators have an obligation to intervene. Even if the cyberbullying is occurring off campus, make school administrators aware of the problem.

- Consider contacting the cyberbully’s parents, if known. They may be very responsive, effectively putting a stop to it. On the other hand, they may become defensive, so proceed cautiously. If you decide to contact a cyberbully’s parents, communicate with them in writing, rather than face to face. Present proof of the cyberbullying (e.g., copies of e-mail messages) and ask them to intervene.

- Consider contacting an attorney in cases of serious cyberbullying. Civil law may provide for a remedy, if other efforts fail.

- Contact the police to pursue criminal remedies if cyber-bullying involves acts such as: threats of violence; extortion; obscene or harassing phone calls or text messages; harassment, stalking, or hate crimes; or child pornography.

From the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services

In wake of Phoebe Prince case in Massachusetts, families across U.S. fear bullies preying on kids
BY Gina Salamone & Nicole Lyn Pesce, DAILY NEWS WRITERS, Tuesday, March 30th 2010,
LINK

Nearly two months after Jazmin Lovings' kindergarten classmates beat her and cut her hair, the frightened 5-year-old has yet to return to her Brooklyn school.

"She's still traumatized," says Jazmin's grandmother, Rebecca Lovings. "She's not sleeping well at night."

The terrified tot doesn't want to go back to PS 161 in Crown Heights, where the alleged attacks occurred.

Her grandmother says the Department of Education has done nothing to punish the bullies and isn't providing good options for a transfer school.

The suicide of 15-year-old Massachusetts student Phoebe Prince brought school bullying to international attention this week, as nine teens were indicted Monday for allegedly driving the pretty Irish immigrant to hang herself on Jan. 14.

New York schools don't seem to be faring much better. A national watchdog group has flunked the state with an F on bullying laws, and several high-profile incidents around the city in recent months have left local families terrified.

"The bullying culture is increasing at warp speed," says Long Island psychologist Susan Lipkins, who specializes in school violence. "Bullying and cyber-bullying are becoming more violent and more sexualized every day."

West Islip parents Ed and Cathy Bell say their teenage daughter, Mary Kate, was the victim of repeated cyberbullying. In October, a 15-year-old classmate bashed her face into the pavement.

"She spent three days in the hospital and has had to have reconstructive surgery," says Ed Bell. "She could have been killed. And the thing that gets to me is this girl used to sleep over at our house."

The conflict began over an incident on Facebook. A week before the attack, her parents say the girl punched Mary Kate in the face at school. And while school officials knew about the incident, say the Bells, they decided not to enforce the school's policy of suspending all parties involved in fights.

"They decided that it wasn't fair to suspend Mary Kate since she was a victim, but that meant that, under the rule, the girl didn't get suspended either," says Bell. Though the Bells have an order of protection against the teen, Mary Kate still sees her bully every day in school.

For Mary Kate, bullying that started online quickly moved into real life. A Department of Justice study released earlier this month found that cyberbullying is at an all-time high, with more than 43% of teenagers reporting being victims of bullying by phone or Internet.

"Cyberbullying has radically increased because the technology makes it so much easier," says Parry Aftab, an Internet lawyer and privacy and security ­expert. "So we have all these kids walking around with cell phones in their pockets, backpacks and purses, and hand-held gaming devices that 6- to 8-year olds are carrying that are Internet-capable.

Nearly two months after Jazmin Lovings' kindergarten classmates beat her and cut her hair, the frightened 5-year-old has yet to return to her Brooklyn school.

"She's still traumatized," says Jazmin's grandmother, Rebecca Lovings. "She's not sleeping well at night."

The terrified tot doesn't want to go back to PS 161 in Crown Heights, where the alleged attacks occurred.

Her grandmother says the Department of Education has done nothing to punish the bullies and isn't providing good options for a transfer school.

The suicide of 15-year-old Massachusetts student Phoebe Prince brought school bullying to international attention this week, as nine teens were indicted Monday for allegedly driving the pretty Irish immigrant to hang herself on Jan. 14.

New York schools don't seem to be faring much better. A national watchdog group has flunked the state with an F on bullying laws, and several high-profile incidents around the city in recent months have left local families terrified.

"The bullying culture is increasing at warp speed," says Long Island psychologist Susan Lipkins, who specializes in school violence. "Bullying and cyber-bullying are becoming more violent and more sexualized every day."

West Islip parents Ed and Cathy Bell say their teenage daughter, Mary Kate, was the victim of repeated cyberbullying. In October, a 15-year-old classmate bashed her face into the pavement.

"She spent three days in the hospital and has had to have reconstructive surgery," says Ed Bell. "She could have been killed. And the thing that gets to me is this girl used to sleep over at our house."

The conflict began over an incident on Facebook. A week before the attack, her parents say the girl punched Mary Kate in the face at school. And while school officials knew about the incident, say the Bells, they decided not to enforce the school's policy of suspending all parties involved in fights.

"They decided that it wasn't fair to suspend Mary Kate since she was a victim, but that meant that, under the rule, the girl didn't get suspended either," says Bell. Though the Bells have an order of protection against the teen, Mary Kate still sees her bully every day in school.

For Mary Kate, bullying that started online quickly moved into real life. A Department of Justice study released earlier this month found that cyberbullying is at an all-time high, with more than 43% of teenagers reporting being victims of bullying by phone or Internet.

"Cyberbullying has radically increased because the technology makes it so much easier," says Parry Aftab, an Internet lawyer and privacy and security ­expert. "So we have all these kids walking around with cell phones in their pockets, backpacks and purses, and hand-held gaming devices that 6- to 8-year olds are carrying that are Internet-capable.

 
© 2003 The E-Accountability Foundation