BESSEMER — October is national Bullying Prevention Month, and the Michigan State University Extension is offering Be SAFE (Safe, Affirming and Fair Environments) workshops to parents and caregivers beginning Oct. 30.
Each workshop will last from 6-8 p.m.
“Bullying has been an issue from quite some time across the nation. It’s an ongoing problem,” Erin Ross, Gogebic County MSU Extension educator, said.
“This is a brand new program, with the workshops in design over the past year.”
According to the MSU Extension website, bullying can cause not only physical injury, social and emotional distress, but even death.
Effects on children vary, Ross said, with each child internalizing the negative effects differently. The effects hurt both bullied children, as well as bullies. “Bullying is just as impactful on bullies,” Ross said.
Children show signs such as anxiety and depression, or being unhappy in situations they would normally be happy in.
The Oct. 30 workshop will be an introduction to bullying prevention, teaching parents and caregivers how bullying behaviors affect kids and families, as well as communities. It will also explore how attitudes and beliefs influence bullying, as well as strategies for addressing these issues.
On Nov. 20, the workshop will teach participants how to move from being a bystander to an ally. It will explore the reasons people don’t intervene in a bullying situation. Participants will learn and practice skills to become an ally to bullied people, as well as bullies.
Keeping kids safe will be the focus of the Dec. 11 workshop. Exploring who is most at risk of bullying, consequences of bullying, and understanding resiliency at different ages and stages will be examined. Safety planning and communication skills will be taught.
Workshops are scheduled at the Gogebic County MSU Extension office in Bessemer, but may be moved to a larger location to accommodate more attendees, said Ross. “We want as many people as possible to attend the workshops.”
To register, or for more information, contact Ross at 906-663-4045, ext. 24.
The workshops are free.