What I Learned at the University of Auburn Anti-Bullying Summit

University of Auburn Summit
Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.
Benjamin Franklin

Last week, I was honored to be invited to present at the University of Auburn Anti-Bullying Summit. This was the culmination of much of the hard work that I have put into Bullying Recovery and spreading the message about the long-term damage that bullying does to a person. But I also knew it was an opportunity to talk and learn from others on the front line working the stop bullying.

I was able to meet and talk to a variety of people who are working to prevent bullying and looking for ways they can help in bullying recovery as well. It was quite an emotional few days for me to be with others who are working equally as hard and are as dedicated to doing something, anything about the issue of bullying for youth and even adults. I thought I would take a moment to share some of what I heard and learned with you, so that you can share in some of the lessons I learned during the event.

JUDGE GLENDA HATCHETT

TV star and Judge Glenda Hatchett gave a wonderful speech to the youth and adults in the audience. She shared some great wisdom about bullying and even insight into her own life. Some of her points that I want to share from her speech were:

  1. People who bully others are insecure people
  2. That the recent conviction of the girlfriend who encouraged her boyfriend to take his own life may change the way the law looks at cyberbullying and kids who encourage others to take their life in cyberbullying.
  3. Every single day 160,000 children don’t go to school for fear of being bullied.
  4. Finally, a word of encouragement – “YOU HAVE A DREAM WITH YOUR NAME ON IT” she told the youth and some of us adults. My dream was coming true being there.

In the sessions, I heard from many experts. Here are a few of their points:

  1. Bullies are hurting too. We need to focus on helping both the bullied and the bullies or we won’t stop the issue.
  2. Georgia is the first state in the nation to make school and community climate a part of the evaluation on the issue of bullying (this was also my speeches message as well).
  3. Don’t let the haters get you down. There are more good people than bad ones.
  4. Forgiveness is from within and you have to allow for forgiveness, even when someone doesn’t say they are sorry.
  5. We have to combat the normalization of bullying.
  6. I watched a play created by teens about bullying called “Cries from the Campus”. I hope to offer this for free soon on my site. The play and the student actors were amazing.
  7. Bullying doesn’t just happen in school. One speaker was bullied so bad as a policeman by other policemen, that he had to quit, blow the whistle on them, and deal with a depression after the fact. He was amazing and his story compelling. His book about what happened called “Breaking the Blue Wall” is available at Amazon.
  8. And from my own presentation, we need to define school CULTURE and stick to it. CULTURE stands for Consistant, Understanding, Learning, Trusting, Unbiased, Responsive Environment. We need to create this and then hold everyone accountable for the health of the culture.

I also got to screen a wonderful documentary about bringing kids from the city out in nature and seeing how, once away from the comfort of home and computers, these vastly different kids bonded together to help each other and understand their differences through the miracle of nature. It is a documentary called “Nature Matters” and I highly recommend it. But the biggest thing I learned is that my voice is important, as all the presenters were. Sometimes, when I am just typing these posts on a keyboard, I just hope someone is reading and hearing the message. But being able to bring it to a summit and sharing it was a feeling beyond words. I look forward to the next opportunity to share and learn and hope I offered some of my learning back to you.

 

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About Alan Eisenberg

Alan Eisenberg is a Certified Life Coach, Bullying Recovery activist and author of "A Ladder In The Dark: My journey from bullying to self-acceptance" and "Crossing the Line". He has been writing and speaking to various audiences about the issue of C-PTSD and Bullying Recovery. Mr. Eisenberg has been featured on several print, radio shows and podcasts on this issue, including NPR and in the Boston Globe
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