If your child is being bullied, she's not alone. About 160,000 children in the United States miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students, according to the National Education Association.
Bullying is a serious problem that is growing worse, and is taking on new forms through the use of the Internet and mobile phones, say educators. Some estimates say that 25 percent of American children experience direct or indirect bullying daily.
Broadly speaking, bullying can involve any number of behaviors, according to Findlaw.com, a leading online source of legal information, including sexual harassment of another student, teasing, excluding a student, calling a student names, physically pushing or attacking, threatening or hazing, spreading rumors, damaging or stealing belongings, or demanding money.
Cyber-bullying, a relatively new form of bullying, takes place over the Internet through social media websites and forums, or through mobile devices. Many pre-teens and teens prefer to communicate with one another through texting on their mobile devices. Because kids can share messages quickly with a large group of students, cyber-bullying can be especially effective in spreading rumors about a student or harassing a student through the sharing of photos. Because this is a relatively new area of harassment, many school districts are still trying to determine the reach of their authority in off-campus cyber-bullying attacks.
Bullying can have far-reaching consequences for the victim, the perpetrators and other students, who indirectly become distracted from their studies out of fear of becoming a bully's next victim. Bullying has been cited as a factor in teen suicides as well as in a number of on-campus shooting massacres, including the infamous and tragic Columbine High School incident. In that case, media reports suggested that both of the shooters were victims of bullying.
Historically, bullying among school children has not been a topic of broad public concern. In fact, some adults may view bullying as a rite of passage for children and youth, as popularized on the big screen and on TV programs. Because of events like Columbine, attention to bullying among children has increased dramatically among school personnel, members of the general public and policymakers. Today, according to Findlaw.com, 43 states, including Georgia, have some form of anti-bullying laws in place, complementing anti-bullying policies established at the local level by private and public school boards.
Here are some additional tips from Findlaw.com on what to do if you suspect that your child is the victim of a bully:
Talk to your child. A lot of times your child will not want to talk about being bullied because he perceives it as embarrassing and humiliating. If you notice a change in your child's behavior and attitudes, approach him first. Offer your support and let him know that action will be taken to improve the situation. Your child will most likely be feeling isolated at school and it's important for him to know that he can confide in you.
Document facts. Take pictures of any injuries and have your child give a detailed description of what happened. Write down the dates and times that these situations occurred and get statements from any other students, teachers or parents who may have observed the bullying. This information may be useful if police and school officials need to get involved to prove how long this has been going on and what the damage has been.
Talk to teachers and the principal. Don't wait. Immediately contact the school and alert school officials to the problems that your child is facing. Many schools are adopting a zero-tolerance policy toward bullying. Alert other adults about this situation as well, including parents of other children and the bus driver. The more people who are aware of bullying, the more chances the act has of being stopped.
Put it in writing. In addition to talking directly to teachers and the school principal, put your concerns into writing to the principal, the superintendent and school board members. While many schools have adopted zero-tolerance policies, some school officials and teachers may not take seriously their own school's bullying policies, or for that matter, state laws regarding bullying. Putting your concerns in writing sends a strong signal that you mean business.
Encourage others to speak up. If the same child is bullying other students, persuade parents to report it too. School officials are more likely to respond immediately if they see the problem is affecting several students.
Call the police. Many states require schools to report bullying incidents to the police, according to Findlaw.com. If your child has been the victim of a physical assault or repeated incidents of bullying, call the local authorities -- especially if your school has not contacted local authorities.
Talk with a lawyer. If your child has been physically or sexually harassed contact an attorney. Attorneys who specialize in personal injury litigation are probably best suited to represent you and your child.
To learn about the law and what to do if your child is being bullied, visit Findlaw.com.
– Source: ARA Content
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By Lou Phelps
Her husband is currently stationed in Afghanistan and has been there since October, scheduled to come home at the beginning of August for his two week R&R. By the time he gets home it will almost have been 10 months since she has seen him. She told Blue Belle shop owner Heather Kaney Burge that she had “no clue what to wear when she meets him at the airport and really wanted to knock his socks off, so we (the a+o team) helped her score a great new look!” said Burge.
Heather Kaney Burge started BleuBelle Boutique in 2003 in a small retail space on West Broughton St., and immediately found sales success in the first year. She then relocated to a new, larger space down the street and is now located at 205 West Broughton St.
Burge then expanded BleuBelle in 2006 opening BleuBelle Bridal on Abercorn St. on Savannah’s Southside at the Publix shopping center. With access to two stores, a woman can fulfill her fashion needs from her teen years to her wedding through her career and onto middle age, according to Burge. And both BleuBelle locations continue to provide a level of customer service that is sometimes hard to find.
The alice + olivia's summer style squad tour added Bleu Belle, one of their customers, to their travel plans, coming to Savannah last month with a vintage 1970’s Airstream RV.
alice + olivia’s Stacey Bendet is on a mission to beautify America and help girls across the country this summer, according to the company. In Savannah. their seventh stop on their summer makeover tour, Blue Belle chose Lindsey to be the recipient of the makeover by Stacey and the “a+o girls,” as they call themselves. The Bleu Belle owners were excited to bring the alice + olivia brand to life in their store and to bring buzz and excitement to their favorite and most devoted customers!, added Burge.
Lindsey was the lucky girl chosen to receive a head to toe makeover, and in true Stacey Bendet style, she walked away with a new addition to her wardrobe and a more uplifting self esteem! The 1970’s vintage alice + olivia airstream stayed parked outside Bleu Belle on West Broughton St. for the day, and customers spent the afternoon and night sipping cocktails, playing with a+o products and receiving style tips from the a+o experts themselves.
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By Nan Marshall
But ask whether today’s children have enough opportunity to climb, jump, slide or generally scamper about and you will find little disagreement. They don’t. With wishful nostalgia, parents will recall the joys of their childhoods of unstructured play. How can parents in 2010 allow their children autonomy while keeping them safe?
Sharing the concerns of their fellow parents, Lisa and Frank Chappell decided to create an environment that would provide a safe place for children to be both adventurous and protected - a place where children would think running around and making friends was more fun than engaging in the virtual reality of a computer game. They wanted to create a place that would offer opportunities for children of all body types to experience those exuberant bursts of energy of youth. In other words, a place where kids could simply enjoy themselves and get lost in the fun of it all.
After four years of research, the Chappells chose the Monkey Joe’s franchise, scouted out a central location on Eisenhower Drive near Hodgson Memorial Pkwy. and in September of 2009 opened the doors for business. Monkey Joe’s is an inflatable filled indoor play and party center that provides children twelve years-old and younger with engaging physical activity and entertainment.
Attention to cleanliness and safety were key factors in the Chappell’s selection of the Monkey Joe’s franchise. The use of Swisher Hygiene reduces exposure to germs and cross contamination otherwise prevalent in public playgrounds, schools and amusement parks.
“Safety is the top priority from the time our guests enter and are processed through SACCS to when they play on the first inflatable,” explains Lisa Chappell. The minute the child steps into Monkey Joe’s he receives an armband matching him to his parents and both are checked by employees upon exiting. Safe play is monitored by whistle-bearing referees. As a result, parents can relax as Monkey Joe’s staff keeps an eye on the cavorting children.
With childhood obesity rates soaring, it’s no surprise parents have welcomed Monkey Joe’s to the Coastal Empire. Since 1980 childhood obesity has tripled. Currently 12.5 million American children and teens aged two to nineteen are obese – 17 percent of the population. An additional 16.5 percent of all children are at risk for becoming overweight according to the office of the Surgeon General.
Why are we experiencing this staggering and disturbing surge in obesity? The answer is too much screen time and too little exercise time. For the sedentary child, the world is intolerably dull and slow moving place by comparison with the excitement available by the press of a button or the flick of a switch.
A study presented at the American Heart Association’s 2010 Conference reported that exercise strengthened kid’s brains as well as their bodies. Students who were athletic had the best scores in reading, math, social studies and science tests. Kids who were sedentary or in other words “couch potatoes” had the lowest scores.
First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative recommends 60 minutes of active play a day. “From the time children are mobile, it is important that they learn and practice all types of exercise,” explains Savannah pediatrician Dr. Ramon Ramos. “By running, jumping, climbing, sliding, bouncing, throwing, catching and kicking, youth will develop not only physically and mentally, but also they will develop the sense of leadership and team work, which is important in the growth of a united community.” Coach Jason Creager, Savannah Country Day Physical Education teacher notes, “Play and exercise help kids develop balance coordination and an overall intuitive sense of their bodies. To help our children learn to navigate the world, we need to give them opportunities to face a bit of uncertainty, test their bravery and meet the challenge.”
But how can we get our kids to exercise? As parents can testify, this objective is often easier said than done. The enticing equipment at Monkey Joe’s provided the solution for a visitor to Savannah. An entry on Trip Advisor reads, “Our family was excited to discover Monkey Joe’s on our recent trip to Savannah. Our children absolutely loved it, and we had to drag them out of there. We were especially thrilled to see the one son who normally just wants to sit in front of computer actually get some real exercise and enjoy it.”
So no excuses of, “It’s too hot, it’s raining, the bugs are biting, I don’t have anybody to play with.” Monkey Joe’s has broken down the barriers for recreation and offers a chance for kids to develop the healthy habit of play in a clean and air-conditioned environment. Through play children learn how they fit with people, how people fit with them and how they all fit together in the community.
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By Emily Mathis
The eight-week long cooking competition invited women from across the country to submit videos of them self creating and cooking recipes that use Philadelphia brand cream cheese for the chance to win a $25,000 talent contract. Winners will have the opportunity to host a weekly online only cooking show that will appear on her website www.PaulaDeen.com/realwomen, and possibly become TV food personalities, as well.
On Monday, each woman cooked her respective cream-cheese dish for the competition’s judges - Ms. Deen, her Aunt Peggy, Robin Ross of Kraft Food’s Culinary Center of Excellence, and Lori Lange of RecipeGirl.com.
“Those girls are me, 21 years ago in Savannah, Georgia wanting to take responsibility for myself,” Deen told a crowd of several hundred enthusiastic fans at the Lucas. Thousands more watched the announcement of the winners virally through the event’s live-stream, shown on RealWomenofPhiladelphia.com.
Since its launch the end of March 2010, 590,000 users have visited RealWomenofPhiladelphia.com. Deen said the online community, estimated at 220,000, has created a “sisterhood like you wouldn’t believe.”
The finalists all appeared to have had a great time in Savannah. For Debbie Fabre, a dessert finalist from Florida who has been unemployed since losing her job as a Christian school principle two and a half years ago, and who sent in 18 videos before being selected, the community of women has given her a renewed self-confidence in pursuing her passion. She represented a number of the contestants with a goal to become the next Food Network star, a success story that Deen embodies.
“When would I have ever done this? It’s something I’ve dreamed of for years, and Paula Deen opened doors,” Fabre said.
Although Fabre did not ultimately win, she plans to continue to pursue a cooking career by working on her blog and twitter pages. Fabre also plans to submit recipes for the Real Women of Philadelphia competition’s 80-day open call for cream-cheese recipes, set to begin soon.
For 80 days, The Real Women of Philadelphia competition will be giving away $500 to the best cream-cheese recipe of that day. The winning recipes will also be considered for inclusion in an upcoming cookbook the four winners are collaborating on. Winning recipes are available now on RealWomenofPhiladelphia.com.
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By Lou Phelps
They wrote, “We, as the Grand Jury, have some suggestions to make based upon information provided from hearing presented cases. We feel it would be beneficial if family violence information was disseminated through the Chatham County school system. Children of all school age would benefit from learning there are options available to them and they do not have to keep silent about domestic or physical abuse. Children should possess this knowledge so the circle of violence or abuse could be stopped in as many cases as possible. The Assistant District Attorneys or representatives knowledgeable about domestic violence and abuse would be great resources for this suggestion.” It was a powerful observation of what is needed, made by local residents who listened to the tragic consequences of the lack of information.
In Chatham County, there are a number of ways for families to seek help. If the time comes that a battered mother or father and their children need to leave the home and have no where to go, one of the county’s most important resources is SAFE Shelter, a program founded by four women more than 30 years ago, and now overseen by a team of professionals, a legion of volunteers, and led by Executive Director Cheryl H. Branch.
Since opening its doors in 1980, SAFE Shelter has provided temporary, emergency shelter to over 19,000 victims of domestic violence and their children. The average stay is 90 days, according to Branch.
Its location is kept secret to provide safety from the abuser, tucked into a pretty Chatham County neighborhood. The beautiful facility has eight large bedrooms, each capable of housing a small family, with a total capacity of more than 30.
There’s a large community kitchen, family room with big screen TV, a children’s play room, large backyard playground and offices and counseling rooms. Branch’s newest goal is to add a computer room for the adults to work on resumes to find jobs, and for school age children to do their homework or play online video games, chat with friends and communicate with family members. She would appreciate help with donations of equipment and network support services, of course.
SAFE Shelter also offers other shelter services and programs including crisis intervention, a Children’s Program, counseling, legal services and a Follow-Up/Aftercare Program. No fees are charged for shelter services, supported by the United Way and various fundraising activities to support the full and part-time staff of 23 team members needed to keep the facility operating 365 days a year.
SAFE Shelter’s staff work closely with the local police department. According to Branch, when a woman is killed or hurt, they review the cases to see, “Did she make crisis calls? Did she call the police? The people who’ve been killed have usually not made the calls. They don’t think anyone’s going to believe them, but there’s a lot of help.” And, fortunately, SAFE Shelter has never had a death of any battered women who has sought shelter with them.
There is no stereotypical “client,” according to Branch. Abuse crosses all lines of wealth and race. “At one point I had six clients who lived at The Landing,”she said. “They range from public housing to gated communities.
“It’s almost worse for the clients who are well-off,” she explained. “It’s not that they are afraid to give up a life style. It’s a fear they won’t be believed. I had a woman married to a Savannah doctor. He would tell her he would kill her in her sleep, and say, ‘who are they going to believe; me or you?’”
“Abuse is about control. We’re seeing more men, as well. As hard as it is for a women to seek help, it’s 10 times harder for a man. We saw 12 men last year. There is a time to come to a shelter,” she emphasized.
The only criteria for accessing the shelter is that a client is involved in “intimate partner violence;” you don’t have to be legally married. They work with families dealing with incest, substance abuse and mental illness, and can provide a number of social services to help with all of these family crisis issues.
In many cases, the SAFE Shelter team helps families who end up remaining in the home, never coming to the shelter. Assistance can include helping the adult gain a restraining order, counseling for them and the children and a number of follow-up services and programs.
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