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Capital Region Seminars Address Bullying

By Dave Lucas


Albany, NY – October is National Anti-Bullying Month: two events addressing the issue take place in the Capital Region this week: Capital District Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

Bullying is a national crisis. U.S. Department of Education statistics show that 1 in 3 schoolchildren from grades 6 through 10 are affected by bullying and harassment. Capital Region school administrators know all too well that bullying can be fatal. During the 2008-2009 school year Schenectady City Schools experienced four suicides due to bullying. As a result, the entire 9th grade class from Schenectady High School is scheduled to participate Wednesday in a six-hour intervention program : John Richmond, executive director of "Point Break," says the group will engage in an activity called "cross the line" - which gives kids an opportunity to express the struggles and issues they face day to day.

Richmond notes "Point Break" has been changing young lives - for the better. "Point Break" began as a pilot program locally in 2008, and has been a huge success with students, teachers, social workers and psychologists. Over in Albany County, legislator Brian Scavo has been pro-active against cyber-bullying. Scavo points out that cyber-bullying often extends from bullying that happens during the school day: he's urging local parents to attend a free seminar Thursday night at Bethlehem Central High School, being given bt one of the nation's pre-eminent voices on school bullying, Jodee Blanco, who was bullied throughout her school years. Scavo says the fact these anti-bullying seminars are cropping up shows that parents and educators are more aware of - and concerned about - bullying than ever before.

John Richmond adds the "Point Break" program will also be held in the South Colonie School District in November for the entire Freshman High School class.