Chesapeake actor aims to stop bullying

No one would think of bullying the Blue Power Ranger. Would they?

Don’t be so sure.

Michael Copon, Chesapeake-born Filipino actor and producer, starred as the superhero in the “Power Rangers: Time Force” television series. He has made a career fighting the bad guys. Now he has a new mission: stopping bullying.

“I was bullied when I was young,” Copon said. “I was bullied for looking chubby and bigger than anyone else.”

Copon’s story matches the latest statistics. The National Education Association and the National School Safety Center report that each day, 160,000 students miss school for fear of bullying. One of seven grade-school students is either a bully or victim of bullies. About 2.7 million students are bullied each year.

In this age of gun violence at school, strong connections between bullying crimes and school-age homicides and suicides are becoming more evident.

Copon was 12 when his stepfather committed suicide. “I was a victim of bullying and of the suicide of my stepdad. I know what it feels like to be alone and to be scared.”

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Kobe Bryant items’ auction proceeds to benefit anti-bullying campaign

Fifty percent of the proceeds from the sale of four items of Kobe Bryant memorabilia sold at auction next month will benefit the the Bully Project, an anti-bullying campaign that seeks to create a culture of empathy.

The items are Bryant’s 2000 NBA All-Star game ring, two of his game-worn high school uniforms and his 1996 Magic Roundball Classic All-Star medallion and ribbon.

The Bully Project is an offshoot of the award-winning film “Bully,” which sparked national interest in the issue of kids tormenting each other.

“We’re delighted to have been chosen to benefit from the auction of these once-in-a-lifetime items from Kobe Bryant,” said Lee Hirsch, the director of “Bully.” “Athletes set a powerful example when they speak out against bullying and we deeply appreciate the efforts of everyone involved in this auction for helping us to amplify this message.”

Sixteen other Bryant memorabilia items will be sold by Goldin Auctions during an auction that opened Monday and runs through July 19, including a pair of 2000 NBA championship rings that Bryant had given to his parents; game-worn Lakers jerseys from the 2001-02 and 2006-07 season; a UCLA basketball signed by John Wooden and personalized to Bryant; several rare prototype sneakers and other footwear; and other autographed items.

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Japan Looks to Address Bullying, Suicides at Schools

A growing number of suicides by students in Japan and inadequate attempts by schools to address the issue have prompted the drafting of new legislation to help teachers spot and prevent bullying in schools.

The education ministry is also considering setting up permanent investigation teams throughout the nation to look into suicide cases involving school children. A common theme in the legislation and ministry committee debates is the need for more independent experts apart from the school to be involved in identifying the causes of bullying and suicides and measures needed to prevent them.

The issue has drawn renewed national attention following a 2011 case in the western city of Otsu in which a 13-year-old boy killed himself after being repeatedly bullied by three classmates. The Otsu Board of Education was criticized for turning a blind eye to the boy’s plight and conducting a careless investigation after the fact. For months the board even denied that bullying was linked to the boy’s death. In February, Otsu city officials formally admitted that bullying contributed to the suicide, according to local media reports.

Suicides among students up to high school age increased by nearly 30% in 2011 from the previous year, according to the latest data available from the education ministry.

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Investigation shows school district followed bullying protocol prior to teen’s suicide

SHEFFIELD — No wrongdoing has been found by Sheffield Middle School staff in the March 23 suicide of a 14-year-old student whose friends and aunt said he’d been bullied.

Parti Holland II

Parti Holland II

Parti Holland II hung himself in his bedroom in his Knickerbocker Road home in Sheffield Lake, according to Dr. Stephen Evans, Lorain County coroner. A few students and Jeanie Workman, Parti’s aunt, said Parti, who was 6-foot-3 and 275 pounds, was bullied because of his size and easygoing nature and because he was black. They said Parti complained in the weeks before he died that staff weren’t taking his complaints seriously because of his size.

Superintendent Will Folger said in a Monday news release that Chronicle-Telegram stories about the complaints prompted an internal investigation and one by Sheffield police. The internal investigation was done by Gary Friedt, district director of pupil services. Capt. Bill Visalden conducted the external investigation.

Visalden said Tuesday he interviewed three people at the school and called the investigation “very uneventful.” He said no criminal complaint was filed and the school district requested the investigation. Visalden wouldn’t release the investigation report, saying parts of it might need to be censored because it concerns a juvenile.

Folger called Parti’s death a “tragedy” for the Holland family and the community.

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Feds fault Albany schools in race-bullying response

The Albany school district inappropriately handled a race-bullying incident by removing the victim from the school instead of her harassers, the U.S. Department of Education has found.

The eighth-grade honors student, who is biracial, was repeatedly harassed by white classmates at Hackett Middle School in March 2012, according to a federal complaint filed by her parents. The students who bullied the girl mockingly donned Ku Klux Klan hoods, asked how much her parents had paid to adopt her and compared her skin color to theirs in Spanish class comparison exercises, the document also states.

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New bill could send bullies to jail

LANSING — A new bill could crack down on bullying by making it a crime.

House Bill 4746 was introduced this week by Rep. Dale Zorn.

Under the bill, bullying and cyber bullying would be punishable by up to 93 days in jail or a fine of up to $1,000, or both. The bill would also let the court call for a mental health evaluation of someone convicted of bullying.

“I have met with school administrators, students, parents, prosecutors and judges to create legislation that defines the assault of bullying in schools, the workplace and over the internet,” said Zorn, R-Ida.  “The behavior of bullying has become a societal problem that may need to be eradicated through professional counseling.

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On the Job: How to battle bullying at work

If it worked in school, some adults think antagonizing others can make their jobs easier.

In the documentary Bully, filmmakers followed the lives of five students who were bullied on a daily basis.

Many people identified with the kids who were taunted and called names at school, and the film often evoked unpleasant memories for adults who recalled being bullied.

Unfortunately, bullying doesn’t end on the playground, Bully producer and writer Cynthia Lowen, says.

COLUMN: Workplace becomes new schoolyard

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Many adults are victims of bullying bosses or co-workers. And, just as in school, many peers stand by and watch it happen without intervening.

“There needs to be a lot more education about this issue in the workplace,” she says. “We can’t just put zero-tolerance policies in place — in school or the workplace — without having a comprehensive understanding about bullying.”

For example, many people may believe that only the bullying target is made to suffer, but a recent government study of bullying in Swedish workplaces shows that that bullying also harmed witnesses. Specifically, women who were witnesses to the bullying saw an increase of about 33% in clinical depression while male witnesses experienced about a 16% increase.

“Bystanders and the whole organization are involved in the process of bullying behavior, and, in turn, intervention programs should be focused on the whole workplace system,” researchers from Sweden’s Institute of Environmental Medicine say .

Lowen says most of us as children tried bullying. Those who felt badly about their behavior stopped.

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