Archive for Saturday, February 5, 2011

Solutions to bullying sought at workshop

Panelists answer questions from the crowd Saturday at the "Bullied: We Can Make a Difference" workshop at the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vt. Panelists, from left to right included Mel Maddox, a Free State High student; Milton Wendland, A KU grad student and attorney; Diane Genther, coordinator of KU's LGBT Resource Center; and Matthew Blankers, a KU graduate student.

Panelists answer questions from the crowd Saturday at the "Bullied: We Can Make a Difference" workshop at the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vt. Panelists, from left to right included Mel Maddox, a Free State High student; Milton Wendland, A KU grad student and attorney; Diane Genther, coordinator of KU's LGBT Resource Center; and Matthew Blankers, a KU graduate student.

February 5, 2011


Bullying: how to make a difference

Bob Harrington, KU professor of education, discusses tips for parents who suspect their child is being bullied at school. Harrington served as a panelist at Saturday's "Bullied: We can Make a Difference" workshop at the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vt. Enlarge video

Free State High School sophomore Mel Maddox spent part of her Saturday educating members of the Lawrence community about the atmosphere in local schools for gay and lesbian students.

Maddox, 16, is president of her school’s Gay Straight Alliance, a school-based group that seeks to improve conditions in schools for those bullied for their actual or perceived sexual orientation.

Lawrence schools, she said, are ahead of the curve when it comes to preventing bullying, but students such as herself still face frequent harassment because of their sexual orientation.

“Compared to other schools I’ve been to, it’s a lot safer,” she said. “But there’s still some work do.”

Maddox, along with other several other advocates and educators served on a panel Saturday at the Lawrence Public Library during a workshop titled “Bullied: We can make a difference.”

After a showing of the documentary “Bullied,” about a high school student who was beaten for being gay, community members asked questions of the panel and brainstormed solutions to bullying.

Event coordinator and director of Headquarters Counseling Center, Marcia Epstein, said the workshop was organized in response to some recent national incidents in which bullying based on sexual orientation has led to suicide.

“This hasn’t happened in Lawrence, but we don’t want it to happen,” she said. “We can start a community conversation.”

About 80 people attended the hour-and-a-half workshop.

The entire community has a responsibility to stop bullying and promote acceptance, Epstein said.

“There are so many things we can do” to prevent bullying, Epstein said.

One option is to hold schools accountable, said Kansas University professor of education Bob Harrington, who was on the panel. Harrington urged parents who suspect their children are being bullied to stand up for their rights.

That includes notifying schools when bullying occurs, following up on reports to make sure action was taken and documenting those efforts.

“Some parents don’t realize they have rights,” he said. “It’s the school district’s job to make sure the student is safe.”

For more information about available community resources, visit


smitty 5 years ago

JW, your headline doesn't match the story. Workshop on gay bashing now PC labeled as bullying a more accurate headline.

After a showing of the documentary “Bullied,” about a high school student who was beaten for being gay, community members asked questions of the panel and brainstormed solutions to bullying.

Watered down PC rhetoric....this isn''t bullying, it's violence. Bullying is what the parents do while on line as their children watch..and learn.

pace 5 years ago

Oh, yes bullying can include violence and it involves a variety of prejudices and stupidities.

jhawkinsf 5 years ago

That twisted logic is called The United States Constitution. Which by the way, protects your hateful rants here.

jhawkinsf 5 years ago

Certainly you may participate in any and all governmental forums. A specific religion may not be supported by government, which is why Christian (and all other religions) may not use (free of charge) government premises. The separation of church and state is a well established part of the Constitution.
Homosexuality is now seen as a normal part of the diversity of human activity. Most people of reason and science agree with this. Homosexuality was removed from the DSR many years ago. When you call this normal activity "sinful" and call upon them to "repent", well, I define that as hateful. And quite frankly, I've seen many anti-Christian statements here that I would say are hateful. But you will not see those words from me. You are entitled to your beliefs. I will make no attempts to change them even if I believed they are misguided. But your statements have been "hateful".

nepenthe 5 years ago

Those of us who do not believe in or worship your God kinda don't really care what your Bible says. This country isn't a Theocracy, cope.

Gary Anderson 5 years ago

So...homosexuals can't be Christan? It is all about separation of church and state by the way. You want religion in school right? Pagan...Wiccan...Islam....stop me at any you would not being in the school.

ivalueamerica 5 years ago

Through with the U.S. Constitution are you?

Even the Bible says to hail unto Cesar that which is Cesar..

But it seems you know better than the Bible or the Constitution.

Hmm, I wonder if that could get in trouble down the line...

false witness? False Pride?

Good luck with that.

nepenthe 5 years ago

Oh those poor oppressed Christians. Not allowed to preach their intolerance in schools. The horror!

pace 5 years ago

I have not heard of instances where they bullied Christians. Please give an example. Are you sure there are no christian student clubs?

excitable2761 5 years ago

well its funny i never hear of a christian walking in to a school and getting beat up for being christian. so i wouldnt say sheltered when i can read about a christian organization that makes its point by protesting young mens funerals for protecting the ground in which they walk on, and as far as seperating church from state i agree that is tiring ,but it sure seems to be the grounds of defense.being gay is not a choice, but being christian is. to get hassled for either should be addressed and stopped.

somebodynew 5 years ago

Not sure I want the answer, but just WHERE are those "loins" going ??? Or is this a rebuttal to the 3rd line of BloodBot's post.??


Paula Kissinger 5 years ago

This is allowed because the district and individual school administrators refuse to investigate complaints and take appropriate actions. This will continue until a student is killed, sorry to say. Been there...done glad my kids are not part of this district anymore. It truly is the worst.

ResQd 5 years ago

I totally agree. My daughter was bullied in high school for being a little overweight and in the non-popular group. She was in therapy for 2 years because of it. The school district needs to make a better stand in preventing this from happening. However, parents also have to get involved and make sure there kids understand there sh** stinks the same as everyone elses.

Alceste 5 years ago

Alceste attended this "workshop". What a joke.

Why do we allow serious issues like little kids getting beat up in our schools to be taken over by the sexual political agenda of homosexuals? Incredible.

parrothead8 5 years ago

What is this "sexual political agenda" you speak of?

Alceste 5 years ago

The agenda that the primary recipients of bullying are alternative life style people, who, I guess, are now entry level high school pupils.

Getting pushed around by bigger people is done to so many more pupils than "gay" pupils, it's laughable. Perhaps if SOME of these high school kids even attempted to assimilate their being such a target might diminish: On the other hand the little kid; the overweight kid; the slow learner kid; the poor kid who "looks funny" can't do diddly boo about their presentation. There isn't even the opportunity to assimiliate.

Being "GAY" at 14 is a joke. Give me a break. Do they even know what brand of blue jeans they want to buy at that age? hahahahahahaaaa

Leave the little kids and the fat kids alone. Leave the outsider kids and the not hip kids alone.

deec 5 years ago

Oh, heck, I'll bite. So are you saying that gay teens should just pretend to be straight and then the bullies will like them? Also, usually puberty is about the time people become aware of being sexually attracted to other people. "Although there is a wide range of normal ages, girls typically begin the process of puberty at age 10, boys at age 12.[1][2] Girls usually complete puberty by ages 15–17,[2][3][4] while boys usually complete puberty by ages 16–18.[2][3][5] "

nepenthe 5 years ago

Somehow, I have a feeling you wouldn't be raising hell like this if it was a non-gay advocacy group, say one who was trying to educate people about the bullying of handicaps.

Alceste 5 years ago

Try thinking....goes a lot further than "feeling" when it comes to intellectual matters.

You are incorrect. I'm just fed up with the "gay community" constantly clawing to be at the top of the "oppressed" crabs in a bucket: "They" offer no solidarity to any other manner of oppression except for their own. Swell gang of thugs, eh?

nepenthe 5 years ago

I see. Perhaps you should take some Homicil. Because it's your problem, not theirs.

M. Lindeman 5 years ago

When did we forget that our children are at school to get an education? This PC crap in this countrry is out down flaw, find yourself on your time not school time! School time is the time to cram knowledge in to that soft tissue between your ears. Your personal agenda happens after school.

jhawkinsf 5 years ago

The problem is that certain "types" of kids get picked on AT school. Many of those "types" are well known and well documented. And these "types" now have advocates who are trying very hard to stop the bullying. Their efforts in trying to stop the bullying should be applauded by all decent people. If all the happened at school was educating our youngsters then these efforts would not be needed. It's truly sad that that is not the case. And I don't care if the "type" is the small kid, the nerd who wears glasses, the fat kid or the gay teen. Bullying needs to stop. I say publish the names and addresses of the parents of the bullies in bold print on page one of the newspaper. Fire them from their jobs. Evict them from their homes. Put them on a slow boat to some backward country where those "types" are stoned to death. They can make themselves a wonderful life there.

Alceste 5 years ago

"....publish the names and addresses of the parents of the bullies in bold print on page one of the newspaper. Fire them from their jobs. Evict them from their homes. Put them on a slow boat to some backward country where those "types" are stoned to death. They can make themselves a wonderful life there.....":

Most excellent. Thanks for your frank and on target approach. Let's not make this a homosexual agenda item.

nepenthe 5 years ago

In a perfect world you might be correct. However, we live in reality, not a land painted with purple skies. Children are cruel, especially to anyone they deem a painted crow, be they short, fat, gay, handicapped, another skin color or anything else that marks them as distinctive enough to be singled out by the 'norm'.

This was simply an advocacy group trying to avoid bullying children who happen to be gay. Somehow I doubt anyone would be raising hell like this if it were a non-gay advocacy group wanting to help insure the safety of group of children who tend to be picked on.

The only people turning this into a 'gay agenda' are the ones who keep bringing it up.

Alceste 5 years ago

Wrong. I went to the gathering thinking it was going to begin a process of "brain storming" as to how our schools need to be mandated to nip this crud in the bud....instead, it was about the poor little 13 year "gay" person being oppressed. Give me a break.....

I recognize and respect the reality that "gay" youth get pushed around and they're an aspect of the bullied population. However, the vast majority of children who are beat up and/or ridiculed are targets for so many more reasons than how they have sex it's not funny....

nepenthe 5 years ago

How they have sex? Alceste, honestly, is that all you concentrate on when you think of the word 'gay'? It really shows you feel more than you think, and you accuse me of not being rational?

Alceste 5 years ago

I fear I have engaged a heterophobe. They walk amongst us....

The essential difference between a "gay" person and a "straight" person is ONLY in sexual partners. You are reading that correctly nepenthe......Like it or not, there are millions upon millions of other people who so "define" what "gay" is all's all about sexual preference. I don't care to read any woo woo about biology; genetic structure; or any other manner of rationalization for the "oppression of gay people....". It's a non issue when compared to the oppression of people of color; the oppression of the disenfranchised; the oppression of the poor; etc.

Irrespective, the "workshop" was little more than a joke and only proved the point that at any opportunity a very vocal minority will front their PC way of wearing rose colored glasses as THE way. Thought police. Idiots.

nepenthe 5 years ago

A heterophobe. Thanks, I just coated my monitor with tea when I burst out laughing.

Thanks, it's been a pretty glum morning. I needed a good giggle.

dragonfly0221 5 years ago

I have noticed the teachers to be very big bullies themselves and turn a head when kids mimic their actions. Start with the the staff..........

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years ago

We'd expect a level of maturity higher than would be found in any school you'd voluntarily be affiliated with.

ronwell_dobbs 5 years ago

Did anyone expect any different comments about this topic from the hater christian community?

deec 5 years ago

My kids were bullied at a private Christian school in Lawrence and at the Boys and Girl's Club.

Alceste 5 years ago

Them "Christian summer camps" and "retreats" are fraught with homosexual experimentation AND bald faced bullying.....BIG TIME.....

nepenthe 5 years ago

The school I attended as a child was absolutely horrid. And the teachers were as bad as the bullying students at times. And people wonder why I turned away from the horrible hypocrisy of Christianity decades ago.

nepenthe 5 years ago

Every time someone brings up the awful, horrible, terrible GAY agenda, I think of this and get a bit of a giggle.

booyalab 5 years ago

He really captured the absurdity of the anti-homosexual crowd when Bush was depicted as Cheney's puppet. I was so enthralled that I turned it off. One can handle only so much profundity.

notsobright 5 years ago

So what is wrong with bullying? Is it immoral? If so, someone is placing a moral judgment on us all. That suggests that there must be some moral truths and standards which we can know. Are you sure you want to go down this road?

Where is there a basis for this reality of morality? Is it the individual or the state (a group of individuals). Either there are morals or there are not. Either there is a higher source of those morals or there is no morals- only personal preference (or a group of personals' preference).

I am pretty dumb, but it seems clear that it is immoral to willfully harm another human being. Whether it be the holocaust, slavery, or harming one who claims an identity like gay, lesbian, or Christian. I will be the first to stand against the one who would seek to harm another person, regardless of life view. A person's life and safety should be protected, NOT because of view or identity, but because they are a sacred being. But gosh, what do we do when the same source for a basis for not harming others (bullying), also gives us moral truth about sexuality and many other issues of our time?

Either morality exists and is true, or we have nothing but personal preference. If morality is true, then it is rational to be coherent and consistent. I may not be that smart, but it sure seems like a lot of people have both feet planted firmly in mid-air. My daddy use to tell me " don't be stupid." (I think more academically we would say "irrational." And rejecting that which is "reasonable.")

We certainly should be teaching our kids to THINK, and wrestle deeply with morality. Our kids deserve more that mindless junk spread through people whose best argument is to say that it is immoral to suggest that there is morality (figure that one??)- and then call those who disagree, names ( as if that were an argument. . . I can hear my daddy now, "don't be stupid!" ).

TopJayhawk 5 years ago

don't go to school. Problem solved.

TopJayhawk 5 years ago


Schools are never going to get ahead of the bully issue no matter what they say. Teachers are too afraid, and too meek. They will not help you.

You just gotta hit the bully on the end of his nose. Even if you get beat up, it only hurts for a little while, and you still will get more respect than running crying to the teacher.

Richard Payton 5 years ago

What era do you live in? Instead of a fist that gun may fly in this time zone with a few bullets being released.

Scott Morgan 5 years ago

Buy the kids a Ronco Bully Pulpit. If they still make them, it's a long heavy metal rod with a leather hand grip.

If this doesn't help use Big Brother Jock and Crazy Sis Leasing.

cowboy 5 years ago

top jhawk has it right , give your child a spine and teach em how to cold cock the bully in the nose. Kids can be cruel to each other , you either grow up or you'll be tormented for a long time.

booyalab 5 years ago

I have a hunch that bullying is still going to continue, despite the fact that some people are somberly discussing it in a room.

Terry Jacobsen 5 years ago

bullying is wrong in all forms. We should all be against it and for anything that helps minimize it

BeckyBurns 4 years, 12 months ago

can anyone help me find a guest speaker to come to my High School to talk to our Freshmen? a guest speaker near Iola, Kansas please!!

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