Three weeks ago Washington, D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton continued her ten-year project on black men and boys on a bullying session Wednesday, Nov. 20 entitled “A Candid Conversation with the Community on Preventing Bullying,” A large crowd attended the hearing which was held at the Martin Luther King (MLK) Library from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Norton on her website (www.norton.house.gov) announced a press release on the session one day earlier. In the release she stated this –
“Not only will we hear powerful testimony from D.C. students and parents who have experienced bullying and its effects firsthand,” said Norton. “This is also a rare opportunity for other D.C. students, parents and residents to participate in an open conversation on bullying, identifying it, its devastating effects, and how to eliminate it from our schools and communities.”
A panel of seven black men from various organizations were staged before the audience of listeners. The panel included Tyrone Parker, founding member and Executive Director of the Alliance of Concerned Men (ACM) and Tony Johnson of 100 Black Men. Beneath them were a table of black youth with their parents to give testimonies of their encounters with bullying and how it affected their lives, both personally and in school.
Also seated at the table were Dr. Joseph Wright, Senior Vice President of Children’s National Medical Center and Suzanne Greenfield, Director of Citywide Youth Bullying-Prevention Program. The prevention program’s aim is the following (from its website www.ohr.dc.gov) –
The Citywide Youth Bullying Prevention Program – created in June 2013 – aims to reduce incidents of bullying across the District by emphasizing prevention and proper procedures for responding when incidents occur. The program works with youth-serving government agencies, District schools and youth-serving government grantees to ensure bullying prevention policies are adopted and implemented in ways consistent with the best practices adopted by theYouth Bullying Prevention Task Force. The best practices are demonstrated in the Task Force’s District-wide Model Bullying Prevention Policy, released in January of 2013.
Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray also attended. Gray mentioned D.C.’s Youth Bullying Prevention Act (which became D.C. Law L-19-167 on September 14, 2012) and youth bullying on the internet. He gave a summary of the three levels contained in the program that provided crime and prevention pieces, recreation, emphasis on public health and working with those on the government level. Adults as well as children are being bullied, especially with the increase of “cyberbullying” now rampant on the internet.
During the testimonies of youth and parents giving their assessment of bullying incidents, feedback was given in which long term consequences can affect the child into adulthood, that schools may hide the fact that bullying happens a lot but won’t say anything due to the school being given a bad reputation, and how does the victim take matters into their own hands. A statement was made that every high school incident has a cyber connection.
A question and answer (Q&A) was done after comments made that asked what models are out there to reduce bullying, a speaker stated that parents may have to be penalized and held accountable for their children’s actions; while one speaker came from a spiritual context, indicating many (children) have lost their way and need to check themselves inwardly.
Dr. Lauren Jones was also a speaker. The psychologist's premise is for youth to find PEACE – which was an emblem on the shirt she was wearing. Her skill is therapeutic and she offers her talent in contract work in D.C. public schools, with a success rate of 95%.
The well-attended crowd advocated that whatever malevolent actions displayed in or out of school for children and adults, it must stop.
Websites for further information on bullying can be viewed at -