Community forum on bullying set for Sept. 24

Published 3:10 pm Friday, September 20, 2013

Everyone is invited to participate in an Alabama Issues Forum on the bullying issue. The forum will take place Tuesday, Sept. 24 at the UWA Higher Education Center located at the Demopolis Sportsplex from 6-7:30 p.m. Dinner will be served. The forum is being facilitated by The David Mathews Center for Civic Life.

In an open forum, citizens will have the opportunity to weigh carefully the attractions, weaknesses, costs, and consequences of differing perspectives on productive ways to approach this issue.

Reducing bullying incidents will require us working together as a community. The consequences of not solving the problem are enormous.

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While Alabama continues to make progress related to combating bullying, the statistics and stories of bullied students are alarming. Nationwide, 28 percent of students in grades 6-12 experienced bullying during the 2008-2009 school year according to the 2008-2009 School Crime Supplement, and the National Association of School Psychologists reports that 160,000 young people miss school every day due to fears of being bullied. The educational and public safety effects of ignoring this issue are grave.

“There is no higher office than the office of citizen, and deliberative forums give citizens a chance to talk through what they hold valuable related to an issue,” said Chris McCauley, executive director of the David Mathews Center. “Bullying is an issue that can affect schools, communities, and office environments. It’s up to citizens to think through creative, community-based solutions to address the issue.”

The forum is being sponsored by the Marengo County Cooperative Extension Office. To register or receive further information, please contact the Marengo County Extension Office at 295-5959.

Alabama Issues Forums is a project of the David Mathews Center for Civic Life, in cooperation with New College at the University of Alabama.