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Bullying expert coming to Boardman

Evening lecture open to public

January 23, 2012
By J.T. Whitehouse , Town Crier

Boardman High School will host a daylong program on the subject of bullying, Feb. 6, featuring author Jodee Blanco, who has been through it all.

Karen Kannal, parent outreach coordinator at BHS, said the program was put together from first reading Blanco's books.

"We read her books and afterwards we thought she would be good for us," Kannal said.

Prior to scheduling, Boardman Glenwood Middle School guidance counselor Courtney Pilch made a trip to Cleveland to hear Blanco speak at a school in that community. She was impressed and the leg work was done to get her to come to Boardman with the program.

Blanco will give four sessions on Feb. 6, starting with the middle schools from 9:30 to 11 a.m., then high school from 12:30 to 2 p.m., followed by a teacher workshop from 4 to 5:30 p.m. In the evening, a session from 7 to 8:30 p.m. will take place for parents and families of Boardman students.

Kannal said the evening session for parents is an important one.

"I do have to believe the majority of parents still care about the kids," Kannal said. "For parents, it's just knowing what to do. Technology changes faster than we can keep up with it."

She said students have accepted computers, smart phones and other devices as part of their life, while many parents become unaware of everything that is out there. That technology has become a tool for good and bad and can be used in bullying. Furthermore, bullying affects every community across the world.

Blanco knows all too well just what it is all about. She has become a New York Times bestselling author for her memoir, "Please Stop Laughing at Me," which is now required reading in many U.S. schools. Her writing and her seminars are based on Blanco's life as the target of severe school bullying. She offers her tale along with what happened and why it did or didn't help.

To bring her to Boardman, Meridian Community Care picked up the lion's share of the tab, according to Kannal and Boardman schools is covering Blanco's transportation.

"It's not just about hearing of her experience," Kannal said, "it's hearing about what could have changed."

She said the day will be full of helpful information for students, staff, and parents. The evening session will be open to the public.



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