Anti-Bullying Forum to Take Place in Columbia
COLUMBIA - The Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services will sponsor an anti-bullying forum Wednesday night at the health department building on Worley. The forum will have a panel with notable mid-Missouri figures like State Representative Stephen Webber and Mayor Bob McDavid speaking about bullying in schools. A few of the panel members will discuss their own personal experiences with bullying.
"A member of the Center Project (which is an Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer, Questioning, Ally center) wanted to start a support group for people who are survivors of bullying or hate crimes. The board suggested that we hold a town hall," said Jessica Johnson, one of the project committee members. Johnson said that she came on board because she knew of the pending legislation regarding bullying. She wants to include this topic in the discussion as well.
The point of the meeting is to build awareness about bullying, including that it can happen anywhere to anyone, and is a growing issue in children at school. At the meeting, people can ask the panel questions they may have about bullying. There will be two police officers on the board to discuss security related issues.
The health department said that in Boone County, 22 percent of students were bullied within the last 12 months. That figure is lower than the national average.
Thirty percent of U.S. students in grades six through ten are involved in bullying, either as bullies, victims, or both, according to the National Health Institute. The group said one in four children will be bullied in the next month.
The event is sponsored by the Center Project, the Missouri Safe Schools Coalition, and the Division of Human Services.
The meeting is open to the public, and starts at 7:00P.M.