During the month of March WKAR held a community forum to address bullying behaviors, current policy and law, and the positive impact of student empowerment and community engagement.
The Bully Prevention Project is designed to educate parents, teachers and our community about the physical and psychological dangers of bullying, and to showcase what the Lansing School District and the city of Lansing are doing to engage, educate and inspire students to take a stand against bullying and other asocial behaviors in the school and the community.
"I think [tonight] was wonderful," said Lansing resident Leonard Leek, who also commented on the quality of diversity in the audience and on the panel.
Panelists for the forum included Kevin Epling, bullying prevention advocate and co-author/sponsor of "The Matt Epling Safe School Law"; Dr. Natalie Moser, director of the Michigan State University Psychological Clinic; Glenn R. Stutzky, senior clinical instructor, Michigan State University School of Social Work; and Karen Pace, academic specialist with MSU Extension Health and Nutrition Institute.
"Our goal is to trigger thoughts and ideas in people [so] that they can take it back to their community…and make a change," said panelist Epling.
"[Events such as tonight] are incredibly important, especially when we bring together people in leadership roles within the school district and community as well as young people," said panelist Pace.
In addition to the specialists, the panel included four students from the Lansing School District: Jhaliyah Fry, J.W. Sexton High School; SeQuoia Bell, Everett High School; Carlitos Serna, Pattengill Middle School; and Lena Oslund, Pattengill Middle School.
"It's amazing [that] we have the opportunity to reach out to younger teens and to share our experience," said student panelist Bell.
Student panelist Fry echoed Bell's sentiments and encouraged others, "…to be part of change and [not to] just want it. "
Moderated by Karlin J. Tichenor, co-director of Project PEACE for the Lansing School District, the evening also included special guests Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, Lansing School District Superintendent Yvonne Caamal Canul and Executive Producer at WKAR-TV Tim Zeko.
"I'm so glad I came," said Bernero. "We are fortunate to have people at the university and in the community with the school district all coming together [to address the issue].
Audience members also had the opportunity to explore various community partner tables, such as Greta Trice, Resolution Services of Central Michigan, Student Assistance Provider Program, Lansing School District, Externs, MSU Psychological Clinic, and lots more.
"I thought [tonight's event] was just fabulous," shared Yvonne.
As part of the Bullying Prevention Project in mid-Michigan, WKAR is airing two specials in March addressing bullying: the acclaimed 2011 film "Bully," presented by Independent Lens; and "Dissed-Respect: The Impact of Bullying."
"Independent Lens: Bully" airs Monday, March 23 at 10 p.m. on WKAR-HD.
"Dissed-Respect: The Impact of Bullying" airs Monday, March 23 at 11:30 p.m. on WKAR-HD.
Support for the Bully Prevention Project is provided in part by a grant from the Capital Region Community Foundation Youth Action Committee.