'Choose Civility' Takes on Bullying, Hundreds Sign Up

Panel, including NPR's Korva Coleman, will discuss the impact of civil understanding, respect on erasing bullying behaviors

With high-profile cases of bullying in the national headlines, Choose Civility invites Howard County residents to look at ways of stopping a behavior that has driven some young people to suicide.

The Choose Civility symposium, "Building a Responsible, Bully-Free Community," will be held from 6:30 to 9:15 p.m. Wednesday at the Howard Community College Smith Theater.

After holding a symposium last year about the role of civility in democracy, Choose Civility partners turned this year to a topic that they found kept popping up in community discussions, according to Christie Lassen, public relations director of the Howard County Library System.

With that much interest, symposium partners—which include Howard Community College and the Howard County Public School System in addition to the libraries—have turned this year's symposium into a full-day affair with different summits for middle school students in the morning, the HCC community during the afternoon and the evening event. 

As of Monday afternoon, 322 residents had registered for the evening session.

The school system, which holds a Youth Empowerment Summit later in the fall each year, moved up its event to include it in the Choose Civility symposium, Lassen said.

Ten students from each of the county's 19 middle schools will convene at the summit, which will include a keynote address by Hammond High School principal Marcy Leonard and eight breakout sessions.

"Anytime I have the opportunity to help our students reflect on their choices, and to make sure those choices align with their values, I like to take advantage of that," Leonard said.

Leonard said she will encourage students to create their own individual brand that reflects their own values, and then to uphold those values when faced with difficult situations like bullying.

The evening session will include two panels. In the first, eight middle school students chosen from the day summit will present their findings in a discussion moderated by Leonard.

In the second, a panel of local and national experts will discuss how civil understanding, respect and behavior can have a positive impact on wiping out bullying.

NPR journalist Korva Coleman will moderate the panel, which will include Courtney Macavinta, president of the Respect Institute; local psychologist and author Brad Sachs; and Leonard.

The evening symposium is free and open to the public. Participants can register in advance at choosecivility2011symposium.evenbrite.com, or register at the door Wednesday evening.

Symposium schedule:

6:30 p.m.  Registration and book sales

7 p.m. Student panel and featured panel

9:15 p.m.  Book sales and signing

JH October 04, 2011 at 12:49 PM
Stand tall for democracy and don't let Frank Turner bully citizens with his move to force political patronage on us. Continue to elect our representatives to the school board and say no to backroom appointments.


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