By David Fleet
Goodrich — At 5:30 p.m., Oct. 25, Goodrich High School will host New York Times best selling author and acclaimed bullying expert Jodee Blanco in the GHS Raymond C. Green Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public—families are encouraged to attend.
Blanco is a survivor turned activist authoring multiple books on bullying, including the bestseller Please Stop Laughing At Me, required reading in middle and high schools across the country. She travels to schools, sharing her story to save lives, and has spoken to thousands of people worldwide.
“The key to change is compassion,” said Blanco, during an interview with The Citizen newspaper. “We need compassion for the students who are targeted by these behaviors, and equally as important, compassionate, restorative forms of discipline to help the bullies access their empathy and develop it like a muscle.”
The 90-minute family seminar and workshop will include Jodee’s story of struggle as the target of severe school bullying, as well as what her parents and teachers did that helped; what didn’t and why; and insights from the thousands of students she has worked with across the nation.
“Kids are like sponges,” she said. “If a parent wants their child to be compassionate and tolerant, they need to inspire that behavior by their example. Also, families need to work with the school in partnership, and instead of focusing on punishment for the bullies, focus on restorative practices that help bullies to become more empathetic and those whom they target more forgiving. That doesn’t mean letting bullies off the hook. It means families working with each other and the school on strategies and practices that encourage growth.”
In addition, she’ll provide specific, practical advice for adults on how to intervene with a victim, bully or bystander, from the rare point of view of someone who’s lived through it. She’ll offer sights into the plight of the “adult survivor of peer abuse” and suggestions on how to overcome those open wounds from the past.
“It’s often more challenging for students in a small community because everyone knows everyone often from kindergarten on,” she said. “That’s why it’s so wonderful that Goodrich is being proactive in its anti-bullying efforts.”
CBS Evening News and USA Today have featured her story, and she has bylined for CNN.Com and The HuffPost. Considered one of the pre-eminent experts on school bullying, she’s a regular commentator for both national broadcast and cable networks on bullying related breaking news, and her life story has been featured in hundreds of newspapers in the U.S. and abroad.
“Whether you’re a parent whose child is being bullied or you’re the parent of a child accused of engaging in bullying behaviors, I promise that after this event, you will have a deeper understanding of how to move forward in ways that help everyone to grow and heal,” she said. “Hope to see you there.”
By David Fleet