Thursday, March 31, 2011

West Hartford community reacts to bullying, shooting

WTNH News 8 (West Hartford, CT) March 30, 2011 "Students and parents at West Hartford's Conard High School say there's not a big problem with bullying as far as they know, and certainly not a problem at the school with gun violence. But West Hartford police say the two combined Tuesday and now a man is in critical condition after he was shot in the neck. As the school day started Wednesday there was shock and disbelief among parents dropping their kids off at Conard High. 'As a parent, it's a big concern,' Ceasar Huapaya said. 'You send your children to school to be safe and then you hear all these things and it's bad.' 'I find that so hard to believe - that they would go and come with a weapon,' Kathy Palma said. 'It's just very scary.'" Read More

In Our Schools: Eileen FitzGerald Tips for parents of teens

News Times (Danbury, CT) March 30, 2011 "How do you talk to your teens and make sure your communication is as strong and deep as it can be, and why is that so important anyway? Adolescent counselors John Hamilton and Barbara Greenberg offered concrete tips and valuable insights for navigating the teen years to about 100 parents at the Housatonic Valley Substance Abuse Council workshop in Bethel Tuesday. Hamilton, a therapist who has worked in addiction prevention and treatment since 1981, said adolescence is a period of profound brain maturation that is not complete until about age 24." Read more

Bullies use social media to make things worse

News 8 WTNH (Hartford, CT) March 30, 2011 "The topic of bullying has been on a lot of peoples' minds lately. It takes a big toll on both kids and their parents, and now new technology like Facebook can make things even worse. Recently we've been getting stories of bullying from Westport, New London, to West Hartford, and several other towns. It's on the minds of people that something needs to be done about it. 'Some of them poured syrup in my hair. Some of them tripped me, harassed me on Facebook, physically harassing me,' said Monique McClain of Middletown. McClain hasn't been to school in Middletown for nearly two months because of bullies. She's been harassed and threatened in-person, online, and on the phone." Read More

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Majority of students report being bullied

Centre Daily Times (State College, PA) March 30, 2011 "He is being harassed at school, picked on during lunchtime and teased on his way home. He receives crude emails and texts on his cellphone. He is harassed on social networking sites such as Facebook. These experiences are not unusual. Studies show that 77 percent of children have been bullied or have had a bad experience with bullies. Cyberbullying occurs when cyber-technologies, such as text messaging, Internet sites and cell-phones, are used to bully others. Almost 42 percent of children have been bullied online and about one in four have had it happen more than once." Read more

Expert: Parents Need to Help End Bullying

Westport Patch (Westport, CT) March 30, 2011 "Bullying often takes place in the schools, but one expert says it’s vital that parents help eradicate name calling, vicious gossip and violence by taking action at home. 'Our mission as caring adult should be to help children navigate the often very treacherous waters of childhood and to help them get to other side, to adulthood, as unscathed as possible,' said S. David Bernstein. On Tuesday night, Bernstein, an expert in risk management, spoke to a crowd of parents at the Conservative Synagogue. At the end of his presentation, he played the viral YouTube video that originated in Westport." Read More

Bullying Victim Now Works To Keep It From Happening To Others

The Hartford Courant (Hartford, CT) March 30, 2011 "Logan West of Southington was 14 when the bullying started. Now 16 and Connecticut's Outstanding Teen 2010, West has used her pageant victory to help prevent bullying through her program 'Bully Proof: Empowering Children Today to Prevent Bullying Tomorrow.' She visits middle and elementary schools, speaking openly about bullying and how to prevent it. She has talked to more than 5,000 children and has spoken at the State Capitol several times, including a November bullying forum that featured keynote speaker Kevin Jennings, the state's assistant deputy secretary of education, who heads up the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools. Today, West will visit schools in Cheshire and Derby. Although she can now talk about her experiences in hope of helping others, she says she is still mending. The bullying, which lasted six months, started small, with verbal insults from one girl about West's having a black mother and a white father." Read More

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Westport Student's YouTube Video Highlights Difficulty of Anti-Bullying Enforcement

Westport Patch (Westport,CT) March 29, 2011 "Though Westport’s bullying policy tries to stamp out threats, slurs and violence in order to keeps its schools safe, the 13-page policy isn’t always foolproof in this age of cyber bullying, smut lists and new forms of harassment, officials say. According to the town's superintendent of schools, Elliott Landon, the district has been 'on top' of bullying. 'But it takes two to tango,' Landon told Patch, and that incidents need to be reported so that school employees can act. In recent years, the bullying policy was modified to include online attacks that might happen outside of the schools. Landon said anything that ends up hindering the school’s learning environment can be punishable – even if it happened on a home computer." Read More

Nickelodeon launches anti-bullying campaign

The Washington Examiner, March 28, 2011 "The popular children's television network Nickelodeon is the latest voice to raise awareness of digital bullying. Nick, the most-watched TV network among kids ages 2 to 14, will begin an on-air public service campaign Monday featuring some of its stars offering advice on what young people should do when confronted with hostile texts, emails or Facebook posts. The advice offered in one ad featuring Ashley Argota of 'True Jackson, VP' and Gage Golightly of 'The Troop': Sign off the computer; don't reply to a hostile messenger; block bullies from access; make a copy of the message to show to an adult you trust. 'It's not tattle-telling,' Golightly says. 'It's standing up for yourself.'" Read More

West Hartford Will 'Tune-In to Life' Next Week

West Hartford Patch (West Hartford, CT) March 29, 2011 "Next week there will be something happening 'About Town' designed to have a positive impact on nearly every West Hartford resident – from pre-schoolers through seniors. For the 24th year in a row, The Bridge Family Center is holding 'Tune-In to Life' week. It’s officially called “a week of programs to promote healthy drug-free activities,” but the activities are also designed to promote overall health as well as to encourage intergenerational communication throughout the community. 'The program started 24 years ago by the Substance Abuse Commission working to combat underage drinking,' said Judy Bierly, Director of Community Services at The Bridge Family Center, who has been directing the program since 1993. She said that programming has been greatly expanded over time. 'We’ve always tried to get kids involved, but now we include the seniors, too, with the ‘Trip Down Memory Lane’ musical event featuring the Hall High Jazz Band.' That event will take place on Tuesday, April 5, from 3 p.m.-4:30 p.m., in the St. James’s Episcopal Church auditorium." Read More

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sen. Klein & Public Health Advocates Unveil Plan to Combat Underage 'Alcopop' Abuse

PR Newswire (New York, NY) March 27, 2011 "State Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester), chairman of the Senate Alcohol and Drug Abuse Committee, was joined by public health advocates from across New York Sunday to unveil plans to crack down on easy access that minors have to Four Loko and similar high-alcohol malted beverages. This strategy came as result of recent undercover police stings in New York City, as well as a survey of hospitals and colleges across New York State. The results all showed that these beverages – and their dangerous consequences – continue to be easily within the reach of underage drinkers. 'The results of these investigations clearly show that 'alcopops' like Four Loko- or any other type of these deceptive drinks- are still too easy for teens to get their hands on. It is time for us to take the necessary steps to get these dangerous cocktails off the shelves of convenience stores and bodegas in order to save our teens from any further injury or harm,' Senator Klein said. 'Alcopops,' or High Alcohol Flavored Malt Beverages, are sweetened and flavored malt-based drinks with high alcohol content (Four Loko has a 12 percent alcohol content, while a normal beer generally has a 4 to 5 percent alcohol content.) They are generally sold for $2 to $3 for a 22 ounce can, have very similar packaging to non-alcoholic energy drinks, and have a history of being aggressively marketed to minors." Read More

Teens Who Smoke Early Often Try Pot Later, Study Finds

HealthDay News, March 28, 2011 "Teenagers who begin smoking at an early age are much more likely to start using marijuana by the time they're 17, researchers report. Their analysis of data from a Finnish-American birth cohort study that began in 1994 found that by the time they were 17, about 15 percent of girls and 12 percent of boys had used marijuana or other illicit substances at least once. Predictors of drug use included being female, binge drinking, father's binge drinking, peers who smoked, acquaintances with drug experience, and aggressive behavior among boys. The researchers also found that starting smoking at an early age was an especially strong predictor of drug use. Participants who started smoking by age 12 or earlier were 26 times more likely to start using drugs by age 17 than those who never smoked." Read More

School officials react to video plea against bullying by Westport girl

Westport News (Westport, CT) March 26, 2011 "The principal of Bedford Middle School in Westport has emailed students' families to alert them about the YouTube video posted by one of the school's eighth-grade students in which the girl says she has been a target of bullying and issues a plea for it to stop. Following is the text of the email sent Friday by Principal Melissa Kay: 'Dear Parents, We are investigating a recent case of cyber bullying. Today, the school counseling staff and I met with the 8th graders in their teams to remind them of internet safety and consequences of cyber bullying. We encourage parents to have similar discussions at home with your children.' HERE'S WHAT SCHOOL OFFICIALS WERE REACTING TO, as reported Friday afternoon. A 13-year-old girl -- an eighth-grade student at Bedford Middle School in Westport -- has posted a video on the YouTube website pleading for an end to the bullying that she says she has suffered." Read More

Friday, March 25, 2011

Teen ER Visits Due to Ecstasy Are on the Rise, March 24, 2011

"Ecstasy use is rising among teens and young adults, causing a significant increase in emergency room visits by users of the street drug, a new federal study shows.
Hospital emergency department visits involving ecstasy increased from 10,222 in 2004 to 17,865 in 2008, a 74.8% increase.
Most of these emergency room visits (69.3%) involved patients between 18 and 29; 17.9% of those seeking help in ERs were between 12 and 17, according to the report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Ecstasy can produce psychedelic and stimulant side effects, including anxiety attacks, hypertension, hyperthermia and rapid heart beat, called tachycardia. Such adverse reactions can increase when ecstasy is used, as it often is, along with alcohol or other substances of abuse, according to researchers.
SAMHSA says 77.8% of the emergency department visits involving ecstasy also involved the use of at least one other substance of abuse. Among ecstasy-related emergency department visits involving people 21 and older, 39.7% of the patients had used the drug with three or more substances of abuse, most often alcohol." Read More

Snoop Dogg Accused of Glorifying Underage Drinking, March 24, 2011

"Snoop Dogg is being accused of promoting underage drinking by 'alcohol industry watchdog' the Marin Institute, for his endorsement of Blast by Colt 45.
The group, is accusing Snoop of using his popularity to encourage minors to drink the beverage, produced by the Pabst Brewing Company. In an attempt to halt the production of beverages like Blast, which contain both alcohol and soda, Marin reached out to California State Senator Alex Padilla to strengthen its ban the drink, and others like it.
'While the federal government was shutting down dangerous caffeinated alcohol, Pabst Brewing Company was cooking up 'Blast,' a super sweet, fruit-flavored, supersized alcopop containing as much alcohol as four and a half cans of beer,' said Marin CEO Lee Levingston. 'Joose, Four Loko, Tilt, and now Blast are racing to the bottom to harm youth. Senator Padilla's bill should limit such products to one standard-size drink.'" Read More

No bully pulpit

The Day (New London, CT) March 25, 2011

"No doubt there have always been bullies, individuals who cruelly taunt others and seemingly get satisfaction from doing it. But these days bullying, particularly among young people, seems to be more prevalent and dangerous. That's unacceptable, and adults must do all they can to stop it.
At the state Capitol this week lawmakers on the Education Committee debated, then unanimously passed, legislation that broadens Connecticut's existing bullying laws to include cyberbullying and toughens laws already on the books.
A slew of lawmakers, educators and youth advocates submitted testimony in support of the bill, some wholeheartedly endorsing it and others suggesting small tweaks here and there. The 'Act Concerning the Strengthening of School Bullying Laws' appears to have widespread support, and it should." Read More

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mock court demonstrates cyber-bullying consequences

Auburn Journal (Auburn, CA) March 24, 2011

"Some Auburn students got a lesson in the consequences of cyber bullying Wednesday.
Placer County court officials teamed up with St. Joseph’s Catholic School to put on a mock juvenile trial in the Placer County Juvenile Detention Center in Auburn.
The trial stemmed from a fake-cyber bullying incident in which one middle-school girl was arrested for sending a classmate a text message telling her she would 'mess her up.'
In the story, two girls were interested in one boy. The boy, however, ignored them and instead showed interest in one of their friends, played by student Ani Lewis.
At a birthday party the two girls posted nasty comments on Ani’s Facebook page. One of the fake messages read, 'Hey that Ani is just a fat, ugly, stupid, immature whore.'
When Ani complained about the messages and asked her peers to take them down, one of the bullying girls, 'A.J.' Woo, sent Ani the text message." Read More

Indictment revives debate over drug testing for high school students, athletes

CT Post (Danbury, CT) March 20, 2011

"The indictment last Tuesday of suspected drug ring members who reportedly sold anabolic steroids to Danbury area high school students brings the debate over student drug testing into the spotlight. However, it doesn't answer the big question: Is testing students for drug use the right thing to do?
The answer is clouded by cost concerns, uncertainty over effectiveness and privacy issues.
Proponents say testing's value is in deterring drug use, and that in spite of the few positive test results so far, there's no way to measure the number of students who avoid drugs because of testing." Read more

Bill strengthening bullying law passes first step in Hartford

The Hartford Courant (Hartford, CT) March 23, 2011

"A bill to strengthen the state law against bullying in school, including bullying over the Internet, passed the General Assembly’s Education Committee late this afternoon.
The bill, which still must be voted on by the full General Assembly, increases the responsibility of school administrators to prevent bullying and to appoint a safe school environment specialist to report and investigate incidents of bullying.
'It is a substantial problem,' said state Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, D-New Haven. 'It’s one that we know that often preys on the minds of children so they can become paralyzed with fear and dread.'
Looney and state Sen. Andrea Stillman, D-Waterford, co-chairwoman of the Education Committee, introduced the bill.
One of its most important aspects is 'the expansion of the definition of bullying to include cyber-bullying' outside of school, Looney said. Also, 'school employees will now be required to report the incident within one day' after it is observed or reported, he said." Read More

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

MADD and Archie Comics Team Up to Prevent Underage Drinking

PR Newswire (Dallas, TX) March 22, 2011

"Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and Archie Comics® have partnered to raise awareness about underage drinking in advance of MADD's first annual PowerTalk 21™ day on April 21 — the national day for parents to start talking with their kids about alcohol. The Archie Comics Double Digest #217 issue hitting comic book stores tomorrow includes a storyline about underage drinking prevention, which features the likeness of Dallas Cowboys Tight End Jason Witten and, of course, the teens of Riverdale.
'MADD is excited to have the Riverdale gang and Jason Witten bring light to the importance of teens resisting the pressures to drink alcohol before they're 21,' said MADD CEO Kimberly Earle. 'A major disconnect exists between parents and kids when it comes to alcohol — research shows that one in five teens binge drink, while only one in 100 parents believes his or her child binge drinks — so MADD welcomed the opportunity to partner with Archie Comics and urge parents to start these vital conversations with their teens.'" Read More

Getting serious about teen drinking (Laconia, MA) March 23, 2011

"These were certainly not the first teen drinking bashes to take place, and they certainly will not be the last.
What is especially distressing beyond this weekend's parties themselves is the reaction of some parents.
Laconia Police Lt. Matt Canfield said Monday that the department had received a number of calls from parents upset that police had taken their youngsters in.
What were those parents thinking? In some ways their irresponsibility is even greater than that of their kids.
It is bad enough that young people break the law by consuming alcohol before their 21st birthdays. There are also significant long-term health risks. Kids who begin drinking before the age of 15 are four times more likely to become alcoholics than those who start drinking at the legal age of 21. That is why parents have a duty to their children to help them make good decisions." Read More

Should parents give alcohol to their kids?

CBS News, March 22, 2011

"Studies show that, by the time kids reach the legal drinking age of 21, there's an 86 percent chance they've already had alcohol. And while some teens have to sneak it or even steal it, others are being served by the people you'd least expect -- their parents.
With spring break wrapping up and prom season under way, teen drinking is a hot topic of conversation.
Each year, nearly 200,000 underage drinkers visit emergency rooms due to alcohol-related incidents. And that's leading some parents to begin alcohol education at home.
'Early Show' contributor Taryn Winter Brill reported some parents, such as Laura Zinn Fromm, have begun allowing their kids to imbibe.
Brill said when Fromm talks about her teenage son, she sounds like any worried parent.
'I don't know what goes on in school,' Fromm told CBS News. "I have no idea. I only know what he tells me."
However, Brill said her behavior is far from typical when it comes to letting 15-year-old Matt try alcohol." Read More

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Synthetic Drug Kills Teen, Injures More, March 21, 2011

"Despite Minnesota lawmakers seeking a ban on chemicals used in common synthetic drugs, revelers at a spring break party in a Minneapolis suburb overdosed this week on one of the risky substances, leaving one dead, officials told Reuters on Sunday.
Iowa Rep. Sen. Charles Grassley, just two days ago proposed a similar ban on chemicals used in such synthetic drugs known as Spice and K2, a synthetic marijuana.
Trevor Robinson, 19, died of an overdose at the spring break party while ten other people ages 16 to 22 were hospitalized, said Anoka County, Minn. Police Detective Larry Johnson.
Timothy Lamere, 21, was arrested on suspicion of third-degree murder Friday, The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. Lamere provided his friends with 2C-E, which is not listed as a controlled substance, according to police officials. A Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman, however, told UPI it is illegal under the Federal Analog Act, since it is similar to the outlawed 2C-B." Read More

How Drug Use Is Holding America Back

The Huffington Post, March 22, 2011

"Stories about the toll of drug use are often tales of individual suffering; of a career lost, a young life derailed, or a tragic death. Recently, during a visit through West Virginia, Kentucky, Georgia and Florida to discuss the prescription drug abuse epidemic, I heard other kinds of stories that were just as troubling.
Several business leaders recounted to me their experiences in trying to hire workers in economically depressed areas of Appalachia. Some indicated that they had trouble finding enough qualified, ready-to-work employees that could pass a drug test. Others said they had to give up their plans to expand their businesses for the same reason. As a result, potential jobs were lost, in a region where they are sorely needed.
During his State of the Union Address in February 2011, President Obama announced to the Nation that we are in the midst of our generation's 'Sputnik moment' and that, 'to win the future, we'll need to take on the challenges that have been decades in the making.' All of us are part of this effort. And simply put, our Nation cannot reach its full potential without a drug-free and healthy citizenry." Read More

Student launches anti-bullying campaign (Lewisburg, PA) March 21, 2011

"As a grade-school student in upstate New York, Dan Murphy was bullied.
'I was a larger student, and people used to make fun of me for my weight,' he recalled. 'I was bullied from late elementary school until mid-high school, mostly for looking different. People don't understand what a detrimental effect they have. They forget about what they said a minute after they say it, but the person they are saying it to internalizes it.'
Now an elementary education major at Bucknell University, Murphy draws on his past experiences as a staunch advocate against bullying. So when he learned about syndicated columnist Dan Savage's national It Gets Better campaign, he knew he wanted to make Bucknell a part of it." Read More

Monday, March 21, 2011

Pick a Secret Password and More Tips on Raising Teens

Bedford-Kantonah (Bedford, NY) March 18, 2011

"A mother’s simple gesture – an embrace – rebuffed by her 11-year-old child can only mean one thing: welcome to the rollercoaster ride of angst and drama known as the teenage years.
For psychotherapist Elizabeth Driscoll Jorgensen, that moment came in church when her daughter recoiled so unmercifully from an attempted hug that the mother of four knew, 'something was bugging my kid.'
In fact, something was bothering her daughter. 'Mom, I don’t know what it is but lately everything you do is embarrassing me,' Jorgensen recalled her eldest saying. 'Everything you say, and stuff, I just can’t stand it … [I]t’s not just hugging in church, it’s everything – the way you talk, your clothes. Mommy, you dress like a freak, you know.'
Knowing laughter filled the Harvey School’s arts center in Katonah Tuesday night where more than 50 parents attended Jorgensen’s 'Delay Your Gray' workshop hosted by the parents’ association." Read More

Cyber bullying 'a big problem' in Fairfield County

CT Post (Stamford, CT) March 19, 2011

"Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen said this week that it is time to change the culture around bullying and cyberbullying in Connecticut high schools.
Jepsen, a Democrat who was elected to his post in November, is pushing for legislation to make cyber-bullying a crime.
'I've been supportive of legislation that would extend our current bullying statute to cyberbullying as well, whether on a social networking site or somewhere else on the Internet,' Jepsen said. 'I think we need to raise awareness of the issue, so that's where my actions have been directed.'
Jepsen campaigned on the issue in the fall and said his interest is not simply driven by the recent discovery of a so-called smut list at his Greenwich High School alma mater last week." Read More

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Rich Teens Drink More, While Poor Teens Choose to Smoke, Study Shows, March 16, 2011

"Teens just want to have fun and, if you're a rich kid -- think Tom Cruise in 'Risky Business' -- when the folks are away, it's time to booze it up and play.
Turns out affluence and alcohol consumption go hand-in-hand for the teen set, according to a new study, Reuters reports. On the other end of the socioeconomic spectrum, kids who come from families with lesser means are more likely to reach for a cig.
Researchers from the University of Bristol in the U.K., sought to discover the relationship between alcohol and cigarette smoking and teens in relationship to parent's economic status, according the study published in the journal Pediatrics.
Researchers studied 5,837 13-year-olds and found those who come from higher income levels drink more. Those from the lowest income bracket were 22 percent less likely to drink." Read More

Bullies bruise brains, not just egos, March 16, 2011

"Bullying and other types of chronic social stress affect gene activity in the brain, suggests a new study in mice. The changes may lead to persistent social anxiety.
'Just as alcohol affects your liver, stress affects your brain,' said lead researcher Yoav Litvin of Rockefeller University in New York. The anxiety that can result from being teased and otherwise treated poorly is organically based, Litvin said, meaning it arises from physical changes in the brain.
In the study, adult male mice were basically set up to be humiliated. (Mice are thought to have roughly similar responses to stress as humans.)
The researchers placed a small, young test mouse in the cage of a bigger, older mouse. Due to the instinctive territoriality of mice, a fight always ensued, which the newcomer always lost. The fights were rarely vicious, but the younger mouse quickly understood he was lower down on the social totem pole. (The experiment caused more psychological stress then physical harm.)
The same mouse was subjected to 10 different cages on 10 different days — and was knocked around by the cage's resident bully each time. Then the researchers examined each mouse's brain, looking at areas associated with emotion and social behavior, such as the amygdala and the lateral septum, which is located near the middle of the forebrain." Read More

ID scanner best defense against fakes, Conn. liquor store owners say

New Haven Register (Madison, CT) March 16, 2011

"You need to have a birth date of March 16, 1990, or earlier to purchase alcohol in Connecticut — or do you?
According to minors who buy alcohol, fake identification is easy to get and often works. But officials say that giving minors the boot is now the norm, thanks to stricter enforcement and more advanced technology.
East River Package Store, 270 Boston Post Road, was closed Wednesday after having failed a compliance check by the state Department of Consumer Protection last summer. But despite that — and five other local violations found during the check — stores are passing compliance checks now more than ever." Read More

St. Patrick's Day no excuse for binge-drinking: Expert

CBS News, March 16, 2011

"A pint or two on St. Patrick's Day is usually no biggie. But doctors are reminding revelers about the dangers of excessive merrymaking - on St. Pat's Day or any other holiday.
'It's obvious that holidays like St. Patrick's Day are associated with heavy drinking,' addiction psychiatrist Dr. Mark L. Willenbring, former director of the division of treatment and recovery research at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Addiction, tells CBS News. 'There tends to be much more social approval of getting drunk on a holiday. Lots of people are doing it, and people are more forgiving about it.'
More forgiving on holidays, maybe. But there's little doubt that binge-drinking is risky business no matter when it occurs.
How risky? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, alcohol-related accidents and health problems cause more than 79,000 deaths a year. The agency defines binge drinking as men having five or more alcoholic drinks in a short period of time or women having four or more drinks in a short period. What counts as a drink? Dr. Willenbring says it's 12 ounces of beer, one shot of vodka, or five glasses of wine." Read More

Spring Break Tips for Parents and Caregivers

Battle Creek Enquirer (Battle Creek, MI) March 15, 2011

"Spring Break is supposed to be a fun opportunity for young people to get away from the pressures of school and the doldrums of winter; but for many young people, Spring Break becomes a time when they choose (or feel pressured) to drink alcohol.
Of course youth need a break, and of course youth need to have fun, but if youth are drinking alcohol, they are putting themselves at great risk for physical harm and legal consequences. Research shows the human brain continues to develop into the mid-20s. Underage drinking (consuming alcohol before the legal drinking age of 21) impairs judgment, leaving the developing brain vulnerable to damage.
Keep Spring Break fun by keeping it safe. Youth, parents, retailers and residents can all work together to keep our young people safe and healthy with the prevention of underage drinking during Spring Break, prom and graduation season, as well as throughout the year." Read More

In our schools: Eileen FitzGerald Parents and teens can learn about living safely through adolescence

News Times (Danbury, CT) March 16, 2011

"Parents and students can use as much expert advice as possible to help them navigate the increasingly challenging adolescent years.
Parent University, which will held at Newtown Middle School Saturday, provides a wonderful opportunity for parents and teens to learn critical information, insights and resources that will help for a smoother transition to adulthood.
A range of topics will include how to establish and foster connections, what happens to the brain with any drug use, how to recognize depression and forms of treatment, and trends in teen drug use in the area." Read more

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Real Life Lesson on Battling Bullies That Every Girl Should Watch

Encino (Encino, CA) March 14, 2011

"I’ve been telling every mom I know to sit with her daughter and watch the March 6 installment of NBC’s Dateline. In the special episode titled My Kid Would Never Bully, Dateline correspondent Kate Snow used hidden cameras to look at how kids respond to bullying when they think nobody is looking.
In the show, Dateline hired child actors to play the bullies and the victims and brought unsuspecting teens into the bullying scenarios. As the scenes unfolded, parents watched their children reacting to the different bullying situations from monitors in another room." Read More

High school coaches lament alleged steroid ring, defend their programs

News Times (Danbury, CT) March 15, 2011

"The 2004 Class M state football championship game still stands out in Brookfield coach Rich Angarano's mind.
The Bobcats didn't win. They lost 35-6 to Daniel Hand High School in Madison, but rumors swirled that Hand's victory may have been aided by some outside -- and illegal -- help.
'They were accused of doing (steroids),' Angarano said. 'It kind of tarnished the championship a little bit, but I don't know how true it was or anything.'
In April 2005, seven Daniel Hand students -- including two football players -- were caught with steroids in school and subsequently arrested." Read more

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Outback Responds to Teen Drinking Incident

New Canaan (New Canaan, CT) March 15, 2011

"As many in the New Canaan community may be aware, on Monday March 7, 2011 the Outback Teen Center hosted a high school dance at which six teens, out of approximately 200 attendees were allegedly found to be intoxicated, in clear violation of the longstanding Outback Teen Center rules and policies.
Based upon our investigation, the Board of Directors found that the Outback staff properly followed all existing procedures and protocols given the circumstances. The event was staffed consistent with similar dances and in light of the actual number of teens in attendance. The Outback offers a higher staff to student ratio at Teen Dances than most other area teen centers and the staff present at the recent dance undertook their responsibilities quickly and professionally. Before the event, the Outback posted its standard disclosures on Facebook that Breathalyzer equipment would be on hand at the dance and would be used at the staff's discretion based upon any suspicious behavior by attendees prior to entering the facility or during the event." Read More

Officials push to combat cyberbullying

The Washington Examiner (Washington D.C.) March 14, 2011

"Social networking means many teenagers are never far from a bully, harassment or unwanted sexual messages.
Teens are joining social-networking sites at younger ages, spreading bullying and other ugly behaviors to the virtual realm. As a result, officials have been ramping up efforts to prevent threats like online harassment and 'sexting.'
'In the past, you dealt with a bully on the playground. You left and it was over,' said Officer Marc MacDonald, a school resource officer with the Fairfax County police. 'These kids are 24 hours a day into social media, on their phones, everywhere they go. They can't just walk away from it.'
One in three teens ages 12 to 17 have been subjected to online harassment, according to a 2010 Pew Internet and American Life Project presentation. Fifteen percent said they received sexting messages." Read More

Teen Marijuana Use Differs by Gender, Race and Other Factors

NewsWise (Philadelphia, PA) March 11, 2011

"What factors are associated with a higher or lower risk of marijuana use among adolescents? There are some important differences for boys versus girls, according to a study in the March Journal of Addiction Medicine, the official journal of the American Society of Addiction Medicine. The journal is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health.
For both sexes, participating in extracurricular activities is associated with a lower rate of marijuana use, according to the study from Yale University School of Medicine, led by Ty S. Schepis, Ph.D. 'These findings may facilitate the development of gender-informed prevention and early intervention programs for adolescent marijuana use,' Dr. Schepis and colleagues write." Read More

Fairfield's Kids, Parents Differ on Drugs

The Daily Fairfield (Fairfield, CT) March, 14, 2011

"Most Fairfield parents share the same feelings about their kids using alcohol, according to the Fairfield Cares Task Force survey in October. The problem is, according to a different survey, their kids might not feel the same way. For parent Lauren Lanham, who serves on the task force, this highlights the need for her group’s work in Fairfield.
'That’s where the communication comes in, and the prevention comes in,' Lauren said. 'I think [we need to] get the message out that parents do care.'
In October, 1,186 parents answered questions about their feelings toward kids’ drug and alcohol use. Archie Swindell of Quantitative Services compared those responses with surveys of Fairfield’s kids and found stark contrasts in what parents and kids think about alcohol and drugs." Read More

Monday, March 14, 2011

Anti-Bullying Initiative

Fox 61 News (Hartford, CT) March 11, 2011

Lisa Tregoning, Program Manager of Safe Schools and Communities discusses bullying prevention in Connecticut.

Cautionary Tale Informs Hearing On Anti-Bullying Bill

The Hartford Courant (Hartford, CT) March 11, 2011

"Alexa Berman was a busy eighth-grader who loved dancing and poetry and had secured the lead role in the middle school play.
But as the year wore on, she grew increasingly despondent, her mother says, after a tight clique of girls began to shut her out, using social networking sites to deceive her. On Aug. 23, 2008, three days before she was to start high school, Alexa hung herself. She was 14.
Her mother, Debra Zegas Berman of Brookfield, said she did not grasp the depths of her daughter's pain, and neither did anyone else. 'She fooled her teachers, she fooled us,' Berman said.
Berman was one of dozens of people who came to the state Capitol complex Friday afternoon to speak out on a bill that seeks to strengthen the state's anti-bullying laws. The measure, proposed by the legislature's education committee, would require schools to intervene more quickly when students are harassed or threatened; it also would add cyberbullying to the list of prohibited activities. And it would mandate that schools appoint an anti-bullying specialist from its staff, establish a school safety committee and develop an anti-bullying curriculum." Read More

WWE's Triple H rallies fathers, mentors in Stamford

Stamford Advocate (Stamford, CT) March 11, 2011

"About 300 people gathered at the Boys & Girls Club Friday evening to meet WWE wrestler Paul Levesque -- better known by his in-the-ring moniker Triple H -- during a rally in which he discussed the rewards and challenges of being a good father and mentor.
The event was inspired by President Barack Obama's Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative, which Obama unveiled in June 2010 in an effort to open dialogue about the responsibilities surrounding fatherhood.
'To me, this is about kids and families, not about whose name is on it,' said Levesque, who is the son-in-law of WWE Chairman Vince McMahon and Vince's wife, Linda, who was the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in 2010." Read More

Friday, March 11, 2011

Elementary Mentors Help Build Futures for Windsor Students

Windsor (Windsor, CT) March 11, 2011

"Mentoring is tutoring for life. While a tutor may help a student pass a history test, a mentor also helps a youth create a future.
Michael Novak and his wife Denise (Chief Social Worker at Kennedy School) raised their kids in Windsor and sent them through the Windsor school system. Eight years ago, with his own kids grown, Michael started as a mentor for the elementary school. When asked what special talents he had for mentoring he humbly and quickly exclaimed,'absolutely nothing,' but Denise chimed in with, 'he's a really a great dad.'
Novak has always been interested in helping kids succeed; he's been a coach for a special needs Little League team and also with the Special Olympics. But the mentoring is different; it is a one-on-one commitment to a child who really needs a connection. 'No matter who you are, you can bring something to mentoring,' says Novak. 'You can stand as an example, in some terms, to a child. It is what we do.'" Read More

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Conn. considers updating school anti-bullying laws to bar harassment in social media, e-mails

The Republic (Hartford, CT) March 10, 2011

"Connecticut students could soon get more protections from being bullied by e-mail, text message and on social networking sites under a proposal being considered by state lawmakers.
The proposal, being aired at a public hearing Friday, adds cyberbullying to the various types of harassment specifically banned at Connecticut schools and school-related activities.
The updated rules would also require districts to designate someone at each school to monitor bullying complaints, add school buses and bus stops to protected spots, and require administrators to contact police about any bullying that might constitute criminal conduct." Read More

Testimony Sought on Bullying Legislation

The Daily Stamford (Stamford, CT) March 10, 2011

"At a recent assembly at K.T. Murphy School in Stamford, kids clapped their hands and tapped their feet to uptempo melodies, all with a serious theme: Don’t bully.
It’s an area of concern for schools throughout the state, and Friday, March 11, Connecticut legislators will discuss a proposed law addressing bullying in schools. The Connecticut Commission on Children is calling on parents and others in Stamford and other communities to submit written testimony prior to a meeting of the Education Committee at 12:30 p.m., when 'An Act Concerning the Strengthening of School Bullying Laws' will be heard.
'One in four (25 percent) Connecticut high school students – and 35 percent of the state’s 9th graders – reported having been bullied or harassed on school property in the past year,' said Thomas Brooks, director of policy and research analysis for the commission, in a statement. Younger students also are affected, and cyber-bullying has become a serious issue, he added." Read More

Obama White House Anti-Bullying Drive. Details here.

Chicago Sun-Times (Washington D.C.) March 10, 2011

"Today, the President and First Lady called for a united effort to address bullying at the White House Conference on Bullying Prevention. Approximately 150 students, parents, teachers, non-profit leaders, advocates, and policymakers came together to discuss how they can work together to make our schools and communities safe for all students.
'If there's one goal of this conference, it's to dispel the myth that bullying is just a harmless rite of passage or an inevitable part of growing up. It's not,' said President Obama. 'Bullying can have destructive consequences for our young people. And it's not something we have to accept. As parents and students; teachers and communities, we can take steps that will help prevent bullying and create a climate in our schools in which all of our children can feel safe.'"Read More

Drug company offers $1M for Florida tracking system

ABC Action News (Tallahassee, FL) March 10, 2011

"The company that makes the widely abused painkiller Oxycontin on Wednesday contributed $1 million to help launch a prescription-drug tracking system in Florida designed to crack down on the illicit sale of medications to drug dealers and addicts.
The donation from Purdue Pharma LP comes amid calls from Gov. Rick Scott and Florida House Speaker Dean Cannon to repeal the state law that would create a database aimed at closing down so-called 'pill mills.' The program is on hold due to a contract dispute.
Senate President Mike Haridopolos, though, supports the monitoring system and says he doesn't expect his chamber to pass the repeal. The Merritt Island Republican welcomed the Purdue donation." Read More

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Auction to Support Anti-Drug Education In Farmington

Hartford Courant (Farmington, CT) March 9, 2011

"Farmington's local anti-drug council will host a silent and live auction Friday at 7 p.m. at the Farmington Community Center on New Britain Avenue. Proceeds benefit the FOCUS Fund, which supports drug and alcohol prevention education and activities for students in grades 5 through 12.
The auction will feature mostly original art by local artists and artisans from the Farmington Valley and beyond. Robert Noreika, an award-winning artist and illustrator, will provide a watercolor demonstration, and the finished painting will be auctioned that evening. Also featured will be a watercolor by Garth Meehan, a local builder/architect, parent and Farmington High School graduate, whose work has been shown at the New Britain Museum of Art. Suzy Whaley, a professional golfer and honorary FOCUS chairwoman, will emcee the event." Read More

Killingly teacher gave liquor to teens, police say

Norwich Bulletin (Killingly, CT) March 9, 2011

"A special education teacher and cheerleading coach in the Killingly school system was placed on paid administrative leave Monday after her arrest by state police last week during a party at her Brooklyn home.
Shortly before 11 p.m. Friday, state police charged Karen Rubino, 60, of 163 Brown Road in Brooklyn, with eight counts each of permitting a minor to illegally possess alcohol on private property and second-degree reckless endangerment, police records show.
State police from Troop D in Danielson said they responded Friday evening to reports of a loud party with underage drinking at Rubino’s home. At the party, police said they found eight individuals younger than 21 who were drinking or in possession of alcohol with Rubino present.
Killingly School Superintendent William Silver declined to comment on the arrest, saying it was a personnel matter." Read More

The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT) March 9, 2011

"A boxing champion is reaching out to a bullied Middletown teen, inviting her to join him as his guest at an upcoming fight.
Monique McClain, a seventh-grader at Woodrow Wilson Middle School, will join middleweight boxer Sergio Martinez at Foxwoods Casino on Thursday, meeting the fighter and then being his special guest at the weigh-in.
McClain left school in January after months of harassment from other students. Her mother, Alycia, and grandmother, Alexa, say the school system hasn’t done enough to protect her.
McClain’s boxing coach, Johnny Callas, set up the event and said he and McClain are excited for the opportunity. A social worker, Callas coaches boxing to Monique and two dozen other Middletown children in the Champions of Life program at the Lion’s Den. The program teaches at-risk Middletown youth about life skills and personal development, as well as boxing." Read More

Obamas Use Facebook To Preview Bullying Prevention Conference

ABC News (Washington D.C.) March 9, 2011

'I’m not here to ask you to accept my friend request,' President Obama says in a video message released today by the White House on Facebook.
Rather -- the video message from President Obama and the First Lady comes in advance of the White House conference on bullying prevention to be held at the White House on Thursday.
On Thursday the Obamas will convene students, parents, teachers and others to the White House for the conference -- which will 'bring together communities from across the nation who have been affected by bullying as well as those who are taking action to address it,' the White House said in announcing the summit.
'We want you to be a part of it,' President Obama says in the Facebook video of Thursday’s meetings." Read More

Bullies keep Middletown girl from school

WTNH News-8 (Middletown, CT) March 8, 2011

"One girl at a Board of Education meeting in Middletown Tuesday night hasn't been in school for weeks because she's in constant fear of being attacked by her classmates.
This story is about a mother trying to protect her daughter from some mean bully bullies. They're so nasty she says they could end up in court. On Tuesday night the Board of Education held a bullying conference to try and protect her child, and others in Middletown.
'Some of them poured syrup in my hair. They tripped me, harassed me on facebook, and physically harassed me,' bullying victim Monique McClain said." Read More

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Teens Prefer Liquor to Beer, Hardly Touch Wine

Health Behavior News Service, March 8, 2011

"Nearly half of American teen drinkers would rather have a shot of liquor than a bottle of beer, a new study finds. The golden brew and malt beverages only come a distant second and third, and wine barely registers on the radar. Teens who prefer liquor are much more likely to indulge in high-risk behavior, like binge drinking, drinking and driving, smoking tobacco or marijuana and having multiple sexual partners, researchers also found.
The study, which covered 7,723 teens ages 12 to 18 in eight states, uses data from the 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Researchers found that boys were more likely to prefer liquor and beer than girls, and that teens 'graduate' to liquor and beer from malt beverages — such as Smirnoff Ice, Bacardi Silver or Hard Lemonade — and wine coolers as they get older. African-Americans and Hispanic teens preferred malt beverages to beer, but not to liquor." Read More

NEW DETAILS: White House Conference on Bullying Prevention Set for March 10 (Washington D.C.) March 7, 2011

"On Thursday, March 10, President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, the Department of Education, and the Department of Health and Human Services will welcome students, parents, and teachers to the White House for a Conference on Bullying Prevention.
The conference will bring together communities from across the nation who have been affected by bullying as well as those who are taking action to address it. Participants will speak about the effects of bullying and the work of students, parents, and teachers nationwide. Last fall the President , Vice President and several administration officials taped video messages for the It Gets Better campaign and discussed the need to dispel the myth that bullying is just a normal rite of passage.
Thursday’s conference will also include breakout sessions to discuss effective policies and programs to prevent bullying followed by a wrap-up session in which Secretaries Duncan and Sebelius along with Domestic Policy Advisor Melody Barnes will deliver remarks. In order to engage audiences across the country, two of the White House Conference on Bullying Prevention breakout sessions will be live chats with Facebook and iVillage." Read More

Simsbury Public Schools Promotes Positive School Climate To Prevent Bullying

The Hartford Courant (Simsbury, CT) March 3, 2011

"On March 3, Simsbury's Tariffville Elementary School cafeteria was transformed into a thinktank on bullying prevention.
District staff, including each of Simsbury's five elementary school principals, one assistant principal, and Board of Education member Tara Donohue Willerup, joined more than 30 parents to find out how to create a school climate in which all students can be safe, happy, and productive.
Simsbury Public Schools Human Resources Director and former Squadron Line School principal Matthew T. Curtis welcomed parents and provided an overview of the current district initiatives. Tariffville School Principal Scott Baker provided details about current character education efforts." Read More

Monday, March 7, 2011

Old medicines can be dangerous, feed substance abuse

Cumberland Times-News (Cumberland, MD) March, 7, 2011

"Keeping a medicine cabinet cluttered with prescription bottles holding old pills can be a danger to your own health and the health of your family. Those old prescriptions may even be feeding drug abuse and drug trafficking. The out-of-date and unused prescription drugs are dangerous and contribute to a number of problems, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Most kids get their first introduction to drug abuse from the contents of old prescription bottles sitting in our medicine cabinets.
'Prescription drug abuse is epidemic in our country,' said Barbara Carreno, a spokeswoman for the DEA. 'Increasingly, prescription drugs are the gateway drugs for young people. The majority of young people tell surveyors that they get the drugs from friends and family,' she said." Read More

Friday, March 4, 2011

Grant To Assess Underage and Risky Drinking At Manchester Community College

The Hartford Courant (Manchester, CT) March 4, 2011

"ERASE, Inc. (East of the River Action for Substance Abuse Elimination), the area's Regional Action Council for substance abuse prevention and wellness serving 15 towns east of the Connecticut River, is a recent recipient of the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services/Connecticut Healthy Campus Initiative Grant.
This collaborative project with Manchester Community College (MCC) provides $22,000 to build capacity of the campus to address underage and risky drinking behaviors, conduct needs assessments and provide prevention programming on Connecticut's largest community college campus. ERASE and MCC will work together, forming the MCC Healthy Campus Collaborative, to assess the drinking culture of MCC students and increase the campus community's awareness of consequences related to underage and risky drinking." Read More

Bullying in school often unseen by teachers, faculty, study says

Shoreline Times (Westbrook, CT) March 3, 2011

"No fists are needed. Students are taking a verbal beating, with almost 40 percent of local middle and high school students reporting being teased frequently or even daily, but an overwhelming majority of teachers don’t see it happening, according to a recent survey.
The survey was recently made public.
About 87 percent of faculty members reported that they almost never witness verbal threats in school and 45 percent said that they don’t often see teasing or bullying.
'People expect teachers to notice things that they may not necessarily notice, like day-to-day incidents,' said Westbrook High School Principal Bob Hale.
About 45 percent of middle and high school students disagreed with the statement that students don’t pick on or tease one another, and 20 percent reported experiencing verbal threats almost daily. The results showed that 26 percent of parents echoed this concern and reported that their oldest child experiences bullying almost daily." Read More

Series will wrap up with MADD presentation.

Norwich Bulletin (Hebron, CT) March 4, 2011

"On March 10, the Andover, Hebron and Marlborough Youth Services Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention Task Force will wrap up its parenting series with the presentation of 'Power of Parents, It’s Your Influence.' This program is produced by Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD), based in New Haven. Parents of middle- and high school-age teens are invited to the forum, which will take place at 7 p.m. in the RHAM auditorium.
This MADD program provides knowledge and resources for parents to engage their teens in the very important dialogue about underage drinking. The parent program is being coordinated in partnership with RHAM. A similar program is being planned later in the spring for parents of elementary students." Read More

Thursday, March 3, 2011

White House to hold anti-bullying conference next week

Washington Blade (Washington D.C.) March 1, 2011

"The White House is set to hold a conference next week in which President Obama will hear concerns about anti-LGBT bullying.
The anti-bullying prevention conference, scheduled to take place at the White House on March 10, is being hosted by Obama, the Department of Education and the Department of Health & Human Services.
In a conference call Tuesday, Melody Barnes, White House domestic policy adviser, said the conference will bring together students, parents, teachers and other leaders who “have been affected by bullying, and who have taken action to prevent bullying.”
'Participants will have the opportunity to speak with the president and representatives from the highest levels of the administration about bullying as well as ways to take action to address it in their communities,' Barnes said." Read More

Dangers Lurk in Some Spring Break Destinations

Fox News, March 2, 2011

"In the minds of most college students, spring break means excessive binge drinking, the occasional blackout, and sex with strangers.
That’s scary enough for some on U.S. soil.
But what happens in a foreign country, where spring-breakers can easily get mixed in with common drug violence, or be abducted? According to the State Department, about 100,000 spring breakers will travel to Mexico and 'the vast majority' will enjoy their vacation at the destinations listed here.
But perhaps not everyone.
'Several may die, hundreds will be arrested, and still more will make mistakes that could affect them for the rest of their lives,' according to the State Department." Read More

Are Teen Brains Hardwired for Hazard?

ABC News/Health, February 28, 2011

"There's a lot of evidence to suggest that the teen brain is hardwired for hazard. Studies have found that the areas of the brain involved in social interaction and emotion mature at an earlier point than those that regulate behavior. One 2007 Iowa State University analysis surveyed more than 10,000 adolescents about what went into their decisions, including choices about their behavior.
The answer? Not much. Most seem to rely little on premeditation or planning.
Experts say that the best chance parents and caregivers have of steering their kids safely through the teen years is remaining vigilant about looking for the signs and symptoms of problematic behavior, talking to their children when they suspect trouble and getting help at the earliest opportunity. Here, a guide to the risk factors and steps parents can take to combat risky teen behaviors." Read More

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Teens Say Drinking Starts at Home

The Daily Stamford (Stamford, CT) March 1, 2011

"One big question comes to mind after alcohol-related problems occurred among teens in Stamford and Greenwich: Where do the teens get alcohol in the first place? Students at Greenwich High School agreed the easiest place to get alcohol is from home.
'At parties people have it at their house, it’s just around. Usually people get it from their parents,' said Elizabeth Fawcett, a freshman. Another freshman, Haley Sylvester said, 'Our parents don’t give it to us or anything, I think people just take it.' Both girls agreed that most teens know where the alcohol is kept.
Two weeks ago, several Stamford High School students were arrested on reckless endangerment charges after a video surfaced of teens partying in Boyle Stadium while a 15-year-old girl was lying unconscious from drinking an excessive amount of alcohol. She was taken to Stamford Hospital, then rushed to Yale-New Haven Hospital after several attempts to revive her were unsuccessful. She was released the next day." Read More

Sacred Heart receives funds to compat high-risk drinking (Fairfield, CT) March 1, 2011

"Sacred Heart University is the recipient of a $22,000 grant from the State of Connecticut under the Connecticut Healthy Campus Initiative program. The grant will be used to combat underage drinking. Specifically the grant, which will be administered by Alcohol and Other Drug Coordinator Janice Kessler, will be used to:
* Reenergize and reorganize the Campus Community Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention Coalition
* Continue the work of the Social Norms Marketing Campaign
* Administer the Core Survey in 2011 and 2012
* Expand the Peer Educator program
Kessler is extremely excited about this opportunity to continue the work she and the rest of the Counseling Center team have done to combat the misperceptions about student drinking and lower the amount that students drink – especially the instances of high-risk drinking" Read More

Mentoring Program for At-Risk Students Gaining Momentum

Stamford (Stamford, CT) March 1, 2011

"Jack Bryant, president of the Stamford chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), has a goal of recruiting 100 mentors for Stamford Public School students by this fall.
By the start of the 2011 school year, Bryant wants every at-risk student below proficiency level in grades six and nine to be paired up with a mentor from the community to meet once each week. If it seems a bit ambitious, the Stamford Public Education Foundation (SPEF) doesn’t seem too worried.
'Jack can move mountains,' said Susan Rigano, executive director of SPEF. 'If he says 100 people, he will get at least that.'" Read More

Low Turnout at Teen Drinking Talk Raises Red Flag

The Daily Stamford (Stamford, CT) March 2, 2011

"The low turnout for a Stamford community forum Tuesday night on teen alcohol use raised concerns that parents really don’t know what their kids are doing. The meeting at Stamford High School came on the heels of recent drinking incidents in Stamford and Greenwich that sent teens to the hospital.
'We need to reach out to the parents who are not here,' said panel member Matthew Maddox. The Stamford and New Canaan attorney added that one unfortunate tendency among parents is to overestimate their kids’ abilities.
Edward Moran, a social worker at Family Centers, said, 'What parents need to keep in mind is that [teenagers] are struggling to get through the day, fit in and be socially successful.'"Read More

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Disability Bullying: Has Your Child Been a Target?

ADDitude Magazine, February 25, 2011

"Children with special needs, including invisible differences such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) and learning disabilities, are two to three times more likely to experience bullying than their typically developing peers, according to a new report released from, a nonprofit serving families and children With special needs.
Chances are that doesn’t surprise you. As the mother of a child with ADD/ADHD and comorbidities, it sure didn’t surprise me.
For me, reading the report, titled 'Walk a Mile in Their Shoes: Bullying and the Child With Special Needs,' required a box of tissues and many calming deep breaths. It begins with the personal experiences of being bullied from several children with disabilities -- stories that are both heartbreaking and infuriating -- then goes on to cite research on the topic, and finishes with a plan of action for parents and schools." Read More