PTAs Fight Bullying, ‘Red Neck Day’ in AZ, and Cyberbullying in Canada | Not in Our Town

PTAs Fight Bullying, ‘Red Neck Day’ in AZ, and Cyberbullying in Canada


NIOS Brings Anti-Bullying Tools to PTAs  

NIOS and two students featured in our films will participate in the PTA Youth Summit in Cincinnati on June 20. Both students, now in college, were high school leaders who now hope to inspire youth to take action against bullying. Stay tuned.

 NIOS Director Becki Cohn-Vargas, together with Gunn High School teacher and NIOS leader Kristy Blackburn, presented at the California PTA Convention in San Jose, CA last week. PTA leaders sought ways to work closely with school administrators to address bullying on campus. One parent actually started her own patrols around the bus stop when an administrator was unwilling to address bullying taking place while students waited for the bus. Others noted that that while schools have not always been open to ideas on how to end bullying, but that is changing.

Blackburn and Cohn-Vargas were leaders in the initial Not In Our School monthlong campaign in the Palo Alto Unified School District over 10 years ago that has now become an annual event. Blackburn led parents in an activity Gunn High School does yearly, entitled “Dissolving Stereotypes” (link to video and activity guide on the NIOS website) where they each wrote a negative stereotype they wanted to see dissolve. All agreed that the partnership of parents with schools staff is crucial to ensure that change takes place and that the PTA is well-situated to make a difference.

Queen Creek High’s ‘Redneck Day’ Angers Some

According to AZ Central a “Red Neck Day” approved by the student council and school administrators at Queen Creek High in Queen Creek, AZ has rubbed some students and parents the wrong way.
The May 1 event was organized to build school spirit leading up to prom week. The decision to make the theme “Red Neck” was intended to satirize the A&E show “Duck Dynasty” which follows a family of duck hunters and entrepreneurs from West Monroe, LA, according to Queen Creek Superintendent Tom Lindsey.
Others, however, including many African-Americans, were not amused. Students were particularly offended by another student’s choice to wear the Confederate flag, a symbol of slavery and segregation to some, to school that day.
Steve Montoya, a prominent civil-rights attorney in Phoenix, warned Queen Creek High that it is in danger of allowing a racially-hostile environment. “Those schools are paid for by everyone, including African-Americans and other minorities, and they have the right to attend school free of harassment,” Montoya said.
Cyberbulling: Growing Trend that Takes a Toll
Concerned citizens in Canada are making efforts to address bullying in their country. reports that about a third of adolescents across Canada have reported being a victim of bullying as the cyberbully trend grows.
Sherwood Secondary School 11th grader Rebecca Sampson is challenging her community to stop cyberbullying, first by practicing the old axiom of treating people how you want to be treated and also by raising awareness.
On May 1 she participated in a bullying forum attended by over 60 people at Temple Anshe Sholom. Cyberbullying has “made hatred and bullying so much more easy than it use to be … they can just log on a computer, and hide behind the screen or a cellphone, and it can be completely anonymous,” Sampson told the audience.

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