Braintree Public Schools aren’t just sticking to the state mandate to employ anti-bullying tactics in their schools, they’re bringing in top professionals to speak about the topic.
With a $1,500 grant from Milton Hospital, Braintree officials will welcome Dr. Elizabeth Englander with the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center out of Bridgewater State University for a lecture on cyber bullying at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 3 at the East Middle School auditorium.
Although the school system has offered some type of anti-bullying event for parents in years past, this will be the first time Englander, a well-recognized expert in the field, will make a visit.
“Dr. Englander is really a authority on the subject of bullying,” said Assistant Superintendent Maureen Murray. “She has done a lot of research and is a nationally known expert. She will do a presentation mainly for parents, because it’s what every parent needs to know about bullying and cyber bullying.”
According to Murray, the topic is an important one. Between online conversations, texts, and blogs, the potential for bullying is only growing as technology becomes more and more incorporated into everyday life.
Although cyber bullying often means the actual bullying event is taking place outside of school, it’s still an important piece of fighting bullying inside classroom walls.
It’s why events like this are of increasing importance, Murray said, because it helps bring the parents in on the discussion, and helps the schools maintain an anti-bullying atmosphere even within students’ homes.
“If students are involved in something that happens online, or they are texting or something outside of school, it if effects what is going on in school - it becomes the business of the school,” Murray said. “Unfortunately because technology has become a wider problem, it does affect what happens in the school day, which is why it's important that we work together with parents so that everyone is aware of the issue and we can work together to make sure it isn’t an [problem] that affects students’ education.”
Although taking place at the middle school, this outreach is meant for any parent with a child in pre-k through 12th grade, especially as bullying can start well before middle school.
“I’m hoping parents realize this is something they need to be aware of, and if we all work together, we can have an impact to make sure students don’t experience bullying inside or outside the school,” Murray said. “I’m hoping that we fill the auditorium.”
The event is a part of the district’s anti-bullying plan, which includes curriculum for kids, outreach to parents, and training for teachers and staff.
In addition to this program, the Special Education Parent Advisory Committee will hold an anti-bullying event this year as well.