Organizers hope a free event at the Clearwater campus of St. Petersburg College Friday will help educate people about the dangers of bullying and how it can be stopped.
Connect for Respect will be held Oct. 7. The campaign is part of an initiative launched by the National Parent Teacher Association this year. The organization is encouraging PTAs across the country to host events in their communities to help raise awareness about bullying.
People who attend the event will learn about bullying and its effect on communities as well as strategies that can be implemented to help prevent it.
"It’s important to educate the community because parents and community members play a pivotal role in stopping bullying where children and youth gather," said Bonnie Choate, who serves as the Joseph L. Carwise Middle School PTSA President and Co-Chair of Connect for Respect (PCCPTA.) in Palm Harbor.
"Places like playgrounds, classrooms, online, texting and even social networking are all areas in which we need to increase awareness and encourage bullying prevention policies to be implemented."
Claims of bullying at Joseph L. Carwise Middle School have made headlines recently. Former student, 14 year-old Kenny Stoltman claims he was the victim of bullying, and he stabbed school resource Officer Kenneth Fridlund last April to scare the kids who'd been picking on him. This week, the former student pleaded guilty to stabbing Fridlund.
Carwise is taking a pro-active stance when it comes to bullying. The school has a page on its website dedicated to bullying prevention. Carwise also has several staff members trained in the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program
Friday's free Connect for Respect event will be held at the St. Petersburg College Clearwater Campus Auditorium 2465 Drew St , Clearwater (727) 791-2487.