Launching a New Program for Parents and Guardians to Address Bullying and Build Positive School ClimateMonday 07 Oct 2013
By Debra Chasnoff, President/Senior Producer | blog, Let's Get Real, Respect For All Project
PTA Meetings Here We Come!
When I was making Let’s Get Real, my oldest son was a middle school student. He had graduated from an elementary school that did a good job at community building but then found himself in sixth grade at a school site that didn’t do anything to acknowledge–let alone address –the vast differences among the student body when it came to economic status, race, language, immigration status and family configuration.
My son came home with disturbing stories about racial tension and homophobic harassment in the hall. I went with a group of parents to meet with the principal. She told us not to worry because she had a simple solution to the bullying problem: “we suspend the bullies.” Period. End of story.
I wished then that there had been a way to bring parents and guardians at the school together to talk about what our children were experiencing and work together toward some solutions. Instead I kept working on Let’s Get Real, hoping it could help change the climate at my son’s school and many others as well.
That’s why I am thrilled to announce that GroundSpark and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRCF) are launching a new initiative to support parents and guardians in addressing bias-related name-calling and bullying in their children’s elementary and middle schools.
Through our Respect for All Project, we are partnering with HRCF’s Welcoming Schools program to provide all the tools and materials needed to present a two-hour evening program for any PTA, PTO, or community group. The program is part of the national effort to address bullying through National Bullying Awareness Month.
The extensive program resouces consist of:
- a DVD copy and curriculum guide of our highly acclaimed half hour documentary, Let’s Get Real;
- a new short DVD produced by Welcoming Schools, What We Can Do? Bias, Bullying and Bystanders;
- a guide to help organizers facilitate a workshop that leads to action at their school;
- publicity tools, and other support.
I strongly believe that parents and guardians are the third leg of the stool that must be engaged in order to have a safe school. This program and partnership with Welcoming Schools will help strengthen any school’s work with staff and students.
We’ve made it very easy for any group of parents to turn their interest and concern into action. The films and structured activities will help families understand what kinds of bullying students are experiencing and observing and help communities take a serious look at how factors like race, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, economic status, religion, country of origin, physical or learning disabilities are involved in many bullying situations.
To learn more about the program and to sign up for an event and purchase the kit, visit www.groundspark.org/welcoming schools.