Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bloomfield Schools Adopt Tougher Bullying Policy

Hartford Courant (Bloomfield, CT) February 28, 2012

"The board of education has adopted a tougher anti-bullying policy that extends off school grounds and requires school employees to respond quickly to allegations of bullying.
The new policy adheres to the state-mandated Safe School Climate Plan, which prohibits bullying during school-sponsored activities, off school grounds or over the Internet or through social networking.
The new policy requires school employees to report bullying incidents within one school day and submit a written report within three days." Read More

DePaolo Middle School hosts timely presentation about bullying

Record Journal (Southington, CT) February 28, 2012

"Eighth-graders at DePaolo Middle School participated in an informative and eye-opening anti-bullying assembly Tuesday morning that couldn’t have been more timely.
The presentation by Derek Hall, a representative of the Anti-Defamation League’s education institute, A World of Difference, made students aware of their actions and how negative behavior can be hurtful.
Students attended the program just one day after five students at Chardon High School in suburban Cleveland were shot. Three were killed and two were wounded. Early reports suggested the 17-year-old suspect, T.J. Lane, was an outcast with behavioral problems and could have been bullied." Read More

Comedy offers insight into substance abuse

News Times (New Milford, CT) February 29, 2012

"Stand-up comedian John Morello of Boston morphs into a chronic marijuana smoker with a conscience, a loner high school girl bullied by girls who are members of a 'peace'' club, and a crusty grandfather who survived World War II and taps his emotional wounds to rescue his ecstasy-addicted grandson.
With irreverence that evoked a nearly constant flow of laughter, and a few gasps, Morello's one-man stage show, 'Dirt,'' at New Milford High School Monday night was a show-and-tell of the consequences of substance abuse." Read More

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Adults needed to mentor West Hartford students

West Hartford News (West Hartford, CT) February 27, 2012

"Most mentors don’t have special skills. They do have a willingness to listen. Mentors offer friendship, guidance and encouragement to a young person.
West Hartford Public Schools currently has a need for mentors for the many students wait listed. There's a consistent demand for new mentors, and a greater need for male role models.
To help close the gap, the West Hartford Public Schools will hold a mentor training workshop from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 6 in room 400 of the town hall.
Any business or community member who has an interest in being a positive role model in the life of a young person is encouraged to attend." Read More

NCC to host bullying symposium

Norwalk Plus (Norwalk, CT) February 28, 2012

"The Fairfield County Women’s Center at Norwalk Community College will present a two-day program titled 'Bully, Bullied, Bystander: Trends and New Directions' on March 5-6, 2012 in the NCC PepsiCo Theater (East campus building).
This event is designed to raise awareness of bullying and promote prevention. The program will uncover key elements of this destructive behavior and explore ways to challenge the status quo and make a difference.
Topics will include cyber-bullying, the Healthy Workplace Bill, bullying issues concerning lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals, and Connecticut legal protections. There is no admission charge and the public is invited to all events." Read More

Monday, February 27, 2012

School Officials Make Compelling Case To Call In Drug-Sniffing Dogs

Hartford Courant (Simsbury, CT) February 24, 2012

"Police dogs patrolling the hallways at a public high school is the opposite of what public education should be all about.
But letting substance abuse take over a high school is probably worse.
That hasn't happened in Simsbury, but a striking rise in drug activity — mostly marijuana — and juvenile arrests for drug-related offenses has led school officials here to join other high schools that have called in the dogs. From 2010 to 2011 there was a 27 percent increase in juvenile arrests for drug offenses, local police say. They also say use of dangerous synthetic pot, legal and known as K2, is on the rise." Read More

Show uses humor to tell drug use truths

News Times (New Milford, CT) February 24, 2012

"Drug abuse is no comedy, but laughter can often open the doors to awkward but necessary conversations about addiction.
That is why the Youth Agency's Substance Abuse Prevention Council is using grant money to pay for Boston comedian and actor John Morello to do his one-man show titled 'Dirt' from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday in the New Milford High School auditorium.
It is open to anyone in the community, particularly parents and high school students. Middle-schoolers are welcome, but parents must recognize the content is aimed at older youths, said Kevin Kwas, agency program manager." Read More

Lyme-Old Lyme student drug-alcohol survey shows encouraging trends

The Day (Old Lyme, CT) February 27, 2012

"Early last year, a local drug-and-alcohol coalition challenged high school freshmen here to become the first class in recent years whose alcohol use would not spike in the 10th grade.
Results of a December 2011 youth survey of Lyme-Old Lyme teenagers show the students, now sophomores at Lyme-Old Lyme High School, rose to the challenge. Alcohol use did not jump dramatically between 2009, when the students took the substance-abuse survey as eighth-graders, and 2011, when the same students took the survey as 10th-graders, said Karen Fischer, a Child & Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut prevention coordinator who works at the Lymes' Youth Service Bureau." Read More

Friday, February 24, 2012

Schools, Organization to Host Forum on Underage Drinking

Canton Patch (Canton, CT) February 23, 2012

"On March 8, the Canton Community of Concern and Canton Public Schools will host a community conversation on underage drinking and its dangers
'The entire Canton community has been concerned with the recent incidents of underage drinking taking place throughout our community,' Superintendent Kevin D. Case stated in a press release. 'We work diligently in the schools to educate students about the dangers of alcohol and illegal drug use. We plan to do even more in the near future, including a presentation and discussion with students on this issue.'" Read More

2012 WSWC PSA Contest

CT Style (New Haven, CT) February 23, 2012

"The WSWC Community Relations program advances the reduction and prevention of underage drinking and misuse of alcohol in Connecticut through community education, public awareness, and public policy. The PSA contest is now in its fifth year. The winning entry is broadcast throughout the year to help increase awareness with Connecticut's parents on the serious issue of underage drinking in our state." Read More

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Valley United Way Funds Youth Programs

Valley Independent (Ansonia, CT) February 21, 2012

"This year, $2,000 was available to allocate to programs they felt most worthwhile and met the needs of Youth in the community determined by their annual needs assessment. The following areas were identified as of critical concern to teens in the Valley: drugs and alcohol, bullying, texting and driving, drugs, alcohol, teen violence, the arts, stress, mentors and after school activities.
The Youth Leadership members approved the following programs to receive venture grant funding:
Seymour High School will receive $375 for their .Take a Stand' program – a day long presentation for the Seymour/ Oxford junior class students to participate in. The program creates awareness about the responsibility of driving and the consequences when mixing drugs/alcohol and driving. Students participate in group lectures, discussion, hands on activities with several outside agencies and witness several mock mass casualty multi-vehicle extrication." Read More

Teen drivers and marijuana: A 'dangerous trend'

USA Today, February 22, 2012

"A growing percentage of teens do not see marijuana use as a distraction while driving, and nearly one in five (19%) say they have gotten behind the wheel after smoking pot, a study out Wednesday finds. Thirteen percent of teens report driving under the influence of alcohol.
In the study of nearly 2,300 11th- and 12th-graders across the country, commissioned by Liberty Mutual Insurance and SADD, 70% of teens said marijuana use is 'very' or 'extremely' distracting to their driving, down from 78% in 2009.
The findings reflect 'a dangerous trend toward the acceptance of marijuana and other substances compared to our study of teens conducted just two years ago,' says Stephen Wallace, senior adviser for Policy, Research, and Education at SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions)." Read More

STUDY: Bullies Outnumber Victims 4:1 On Facebook

All Facebook, February 23, 2012

"Only about half of all parents are aware of cyberbullying incidents involving their children, in part because more kids are accessing Facebook using chat applications and cell phones away from their family.
A joint survey by SocialShield and comScore of 2,000 parents with children between the ages of eight and 17 reveals that only about nine percent of parents reported knowing about cyberbullying involving their kids, while other data shows that as many as twice that number of children claim to be the victims of cyberbullying.
For example, a survey by the Cyberbullying Research Center found that 21 percent of children claim to have been victimized by cyberbullying, and a Pew Research Center report found that as many as 15 percent of teenagers have had 'online meanness' directed at them." Read More

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

FDA to look into safety of caffeine inhalers

Associated Press, February 20, 2012

"Food and Drug Administration officials plan to investigate whether inhalable caffeine sold in lipstick-size canisters is safe for consumers and if its manufacturer was right to brand it as a dietary supplement.
AeroShot went on the market late last month in Massachusetts and New York, and it's also available in France. Consumers put one end of the canister in their mouths and breathe in, releasing a fine powder that dissolves almost instantly.
Each grey-and-yellow plastic canister contains B vitamins, plus 100 milligrams of caffeine powder, about the equivalent of the caffeine in a large cup of coffee." Read More

2012 National Mentoring Summit Materials Now Online

MENTOR, February 15, 2012

"Workshop presentations, speaker biographies and additional content from the recent 2012 National Mentoring Summit in Washington, D.C. — Invest in the Future: Mentor a Child — are now posted online.
Approximately 500 key mentoring stakeholders, including staff from youth mentoring organizations, administration officials, civic leaders, corporate executives and the country’s foremost mentoring researchers, came together for the two-day event during January’s National Mentoring Month to enhance the quality and impact of the field, chart the mentoring field’s future and expand its circle of influence to increase mentoring opportunities for America’s young people to provide pathways to successful adulthood." Read More

NFA rallies against bullying, hateful words

Norwich Bulletin (Norwich, CT) February 17, 2012

"On Friday morning, tears spoke volumes.
So, too, did the gut-wrenching testimonies of students in Norwich Free Academy’s special education programs on being called the 'R' word.
As the personal stories flashed across a big screen in NFA’s main gymnasium, some faculty, staff and junior class members couldn’t help but cry.
After all, the words cut.
'I used to use (the ‘R’ word),' NFA junior Patrick Kudej said. 'But when you see them crying and what it does to them, I stopped. Special education students always have the best outlook on life. When I‘m having a crummy day, they make me smile. You never want to think about them crying.'" Read More

Students anti-bullying video goes viral

WTNH News-8 (Norwich, CT) February 21, 2012

"Students at the Norwich Free Academy are getting a lot of attention for raising awareness about bullying, but it's the reaction to their anti-bullying message the students were not expecting.
Within days of creating a video, it went viral .
While many are familiar with the mantra 'spread the word to end the word,' from the Special Olympics, after the student video went viral many may also now recognize 'spread the word, just don't say it.'" Read More

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Torrington Board of Education implementing new bullying policy, intended to create safer school environment

The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT) February 18, 2012

"School administrators will begin to implement a new policy to combat bullying and provide a more positive school climate.
William Joslyn, Director of Student and Professional Services, told board members that in accordance with a new state public act, the district will be tightening its stance on bullying. The new legislation also expands the responsibilities of school officials.
'Everything is in a planning phase right now, but the state is looking to implement the act in July, 2012 for the following school year,' Joslyn said Friday." Read More

Alcohol in movies linked to child boozing

9 News MSN, February 21, 2012

"Stars who knock back whisky, wine or beer in a movie are an invisible but potent force in prompting youngsters to experiment with alcohol or binge-drink, a large US study published on Tuesday suggests.
Major exposure to scenes of alcohol consumption in movies is a bigger risk for teen drinking than having parents who drink or if booze is easily available at home, it says.
Unprecedented in its scope, the probe entailed a confidential telephone survey of more than 6,500 randomly-selected Americans aged 10 to 14 years, who were then interviewed three more times over the next two years." Read More

RHS anti-bullying group gets blue wall, congressional bump

The Ridgefield Press (Ridgefield, CT) February 20, 2012

"A bullying awareness campaign by Ridgefield High School students and alumni that sprung up in response to an apparently anti-gay twitter account is gaining visibility.
Last week, U.S. Rep. Jim Himes mentioned the group, Students Against Internet Discrimination, when speaking before Congress, and Wednesday, Feb. 15, RHS hosted a 'paint the school blue' day of solidarity.
Students literally painted a wall in the student center blue earlier this week, and it wasn’t tough to convince the administration it was a good idea." Read More

Focus, IAR Board Present 'Raising Our Teens'

Farmington Patch (Farmington, CT) February 21, 2012

"Join FOCUS a group of community leaders and parents working together to prevent underage substance abuse and the IAR Parent Teacher Advisory Board for an evening with Ed Gerety speaking on 'Raising our Teens, Bridging the Gap.'
Ed will talk about the power of respect, the impact of choices and other issues facing our youth. This presentation will offer a refreshing look at today’s youth. Ed will share techniques to break down the barriers and strengthen communication with our teens. Learn how respect, character, appreciation, leadership and your attitude can make a difference when it comes to raising young people. This program has been developed through Ed Gerety’s experience of working with parents and students all over the country." Read More

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Depressed Adolescents More Likely to be Bullied

Psych Central, February 10, 2012

"Adolescents who suffer from depression are more likely to have problems with peer relationships, including being bullied at school, according to a new study.
And while it is often assumed that being bullied leads to psychological problems, such as depression, the new study does not support that direction of influence, researchers said.
'Often the assumption is that problematic peer relationships drive depression. We found that depression symptoms predicted negative peer relationships,' said Karen Kochel, Ph.D., Arizona State University School of Social and Family Dynamics assistant research professor. 'We examined the issue from both directions but found no evidence to suggest that peer relationships forecasted depression among this school-based sample of adolescents.'" Read More

Area adults applaud anti-bullying campaign

News Times (Brookfield, CT) February 11, 2012

"Sophie Needleman was the first one in the crowded room to stand up and applaud when Debbie Berman ended her speech.
The spontaneous message of solidarity Wednesday, at a breakfast for the Women's Center of Greater Danbury at Fox Hill Inn, reinforced the connection between the two women, generations apart, working to combat bullying.
Berman, a Brookfield parent and teacher, described the bullying, online and in person, that led her daughter, Alexa, to commit suicide days before starting high school in 2008. Berman also discussed her push for tougher school laws against bullying." Read more

Educator: Culture of Underage Drinking Can Change

Canton Patch (Canton, CT) February 14, 2012

"To many, underage drinking is simply something kids will do and the best hope is to keep them from getting behind the wheel and perhps reach a few.
But Maria Coutant Skinner, Canton resident and Parent Education Coordinator for The McCall Foundation, a prevention and treatment agency, sees it differently. Attitudes can change, she said, using smoking and seat-belt use as examples. Just a generation ago, smoking was the norm and seat belt buckles were generally semi-permanently wedged into rear seats. Now, due to education, law enforcement and media campaigns, the number of smokers is dramatically reduced and most wear seat belts, she said." Read More

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Program at Torrington High School stresses the dangers associated with drinking

Register Citizen (Torrington, CT) February 8, 2012

"In hopes of making high school students aware of the dangers of underage drinking, members of the Mayor’s Committee on Youth delivered a presentation Tuesday morning.
Maria Skinner and Kevin Petit, both of the McCall Foundation spoke to students in two different sessions about the dangers associated with drinking.
'We are trying to make students aware of the dangers, and if we can show them the harm that could happen if you drink and drive the level of awareness is increased,' Skinner said Tuesday following the presentation. 'There have been other campaigns that have worked using the same efforts, such as making students aware of the dangers of tobacco.'" Read More

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Ridgefield Students Launch Anti-Bullying Organization, Website

Ridgefield Patch (Ridgefield, CT) February 7, 2012

"After last week's cyber-bullying incident over Twitter and the subsequent stand taken by Ridgefield High School students on Facebook, several members of the Ridgefield community have decided to take bullying matters into their own hands.
With comparable quickness to the original stand that saw thousands of members flock to the 'Southern Connecticut High Schools: An End To High School Bullying' Facebook group last Tuesday, students, teachers and school officials have already learned their lesson and have launched a directive to raise awareness of cyberbullying in Ridgefield and beyond.
The organization, called SAID (Students Against Internet Discrimination), is a student-run group with a goal to become nationally recognized. And in just a week, SAID already has its own website." Read More

Survey tracks drug, alcohol abuse among Madison students

Shoreline Times (Madison, CT) February 6, 2012

"A survey recently given to local seventh through 12th-graders showed an overall decrease in alcohol, tobacco and marijuana use, but it also resulted in some shocking statistics that the Madison Alcohol and Drug Education Coalition hopes to address.
MADE surveyed more than 1,600 youths last November about their habits regarding substance use so they can track trends, pinpoint problems and intervene as necessary. The results, released to town officials during a presentation Tuesday in Town Hall, showed that there was a decline in risky behavior among youth between 2009 and 2011. Overall underage drinking decreased 4.2 percent, tobacco use decreased 14.3 percent and marijuana use decreased 6.7 percent.
Coalition Coordinator Catherine LeVasseur said Tuesday that the average age youth are starting to use substances is 13.3 years old." Read More

Monday, February 6, 2012

2 Trumbull Residents Added to Mentor Program

Trumbull Patch (Trumbull, CT) February 5, 2012

"Trumbull Residents Join United Way to help Expand Mentor Program: Trumbull Residents Jaimie DeSisto and Brianna Weller have joined United Way of Coastal Fairfield County to help with the expansion of its mentor program, Wi-mentor.
According to a United Way press release, the four-year-old program began in Bridgeport and Stratford and is an internet-based mentoring program. Mentors and Mentees are matched and communicate weekly through curriculum based emails, and meet several times throughout the year to build their relationships. It is being expanded this year into Brien McMahon High School in Norwalk." Read More

Groton Schools Proceed With Plan To Prevent Bullying

Groton Patch (Groton, CT) February 6, 2012

"Groton is moving forward with a plan to monitor and prevent bullying in the public schools, and is compiling the results of a survey done last spring of more than 3,000 students.
Connecticut passed legislation last summer to strengthen laws against bullying, and required districts to submit a 'safe school climate plan' by Jan. 1 outlining how they would enforce the rules.
Groton’s plan was recently adopted and is posted on the district website." Read More

Newman Committed to Paying it Forward

Windsor Patch (Windsor, CT) February 6, 2012

"A self described 'troubled teen,' Windsor resident Terese Newman grew up in Los Angeles. Although she was an honors student, Newman was facing some personally difficult times, and she was close to making a decision that would set her back for ever.
'I was upset, and, like teens tend to do, I rebelled in a way that affected my family life and school life,' she said. 'I was on the edge of making a bad decision: dropping out of school,' said Newman.
In retrospect, Newman says that her difficulties were certainly manageable, but to a teenager, they seemed impossible to overcome. However, things took a turn when one of her teachers reached out to her in a small, but significant way." Read More

Thursday, February 2, 2012

SchoolsDrinking, Drug Use Down Among Some Madison Teens

Madison Patch (Madison, CT) February 1, 2012

A Madison Alcohol and Drug Education Coalition survey of more than 1,600 youths in town reports that, overall, drinking is down, tobacco use is down, and marijuana use is down. Also, students are reporting that they are delaying the initiation of drug and alcohol use, according to the survey.
'We're turning the tide,' said Lori Lodge, chairman of the board of the coalition, also know as M.A.D.E. in Madison. Still, she said, there are many areas where the town can continue to improve." Read More

Students present ad on underage drinking to peers at University of New Haven

New Haven Register (West Haven, CT) February 1, 2012

"The commercial begins with an empty beer bottle rolling down the street until it reaches its final resting place at someone’s front stoop.
The message is as simple as it is powerful: No one thinks underage drinking will have an impact on their life until it hits home.
The video, created by a team at Western Connecticut State University, won last year’s Wine and Spirit Wholesalers of Connecticut Inc. public service announcement contest on prevention of teen drinking." Read More

Bullying: 'Power of Words and Your Actions'

East Haven Patch (East Haven, CT) February 2, 2012

"East Haven High School will host a presentation given by Wayne Soares on the 'Power of Words and Your Actions' to middle and high school students on Feb. 7.
Mr. Soares’ scheduled presentations are at 8 a.m., 9 a.m., and 10 a.m., and also at 12:15 p.m.
Mr. Soares will speak on the topics of cultural sensitivity, bullying, cyber-bullying, texting, Facebook and other social media.
Wayne Soares is a national inspirational speaker, actor and author. He is currently on an Anti-Bullying Tour and has presented at hundreds of schools throughout the country. Wayne recently taped a bullying segment on 'The Dr. Oz Show,' which will air this spring." Read More

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mentors honored at banquet

Stratford Star (Stratford, CT) January 31, 2012

"More than 200 mentors, mentoring program staff, and community supporters attended the Mentoring Institute of Coastal Fairfield County’s second annual Regional Mentor Recognition Banquet, held at Testo’s Ristorante on Jan. 18.
The Mentoring Institute is an initiative by the United Way of Coastal Fairfield County that brings together a network of mentor programs across the region to share best practices and improve quality standards.
The banquet is an evening of appreciation to the mentors who give of their time to help children and youth in need of a special person in their lives, and is celebrated in January, National Mentoring Month. Mentors representing 18 independent mentoring programs received recognition." Read More

Kid bullied to leave school because he wasn't 'black enough'

Ct Post (Ansonia, CT) January 31, 2012

"The student stabbed Ryan in the back with a mechanical pencil and walked away. There was no explanation, no words exchanged at all. But Ryan knew why it happened. Scared to tell the teacher, all Ryan could do was to go to the bathroom to wash off the blood.
It was all because of the color of his skin, his mom, Gail Rodriguez said. He was often the only light-skinned student in his classes, which were predominantly black. Ryan, who is half white and half Puerto Rican, was called names like 'stupid white cracker.'
Minority students around the region told Hearst Connecticut Newspapers they have been called n-----, or terrorist, or told to go back to the other side of the border." Read More

Read more:

Ridgefield High students fight bullying tweets

CT Post (Ridgefield, CT) January 31, 2012

"In the space of a few hours, some Ridgefield High School students saw the worst and the best aspects of technology and are now on a mission to end cyberbullying.
Senior Sophie Needleman, 18, horrified by a Monday afternoon tweet on Twitter by a high school student that included a slur about homosexuals, called on her friends to take a stand on her Facebook page.
'When I saw it, I was shocked and upset and knew something had to be done,' Needleman said about the tweet, that used the term 'RHSfagoftheday.'" Read More