“It’s not cool to be cruel,” workshop on bullying in St. Martin schools, coordinated by Book Fair Committee

The St. Martin Book Fair Committee (BFC) is coordinating the workshop on bullying in schools and at the book fair, said Ari Sutton, a senior BFC member.

How to stop bullying” is the name of the workshop that will be held at USM, Room 202, on Saturday, June 2, at 9 am – conducted by Eric Fenwick, a certified non-violence intervention counselor.

Ari Sutton, member of the St. Martin Book Fair Committee (BFC)

The workshop will help participating parents and teachers to identify and handle bullying whether it occurs in the classroom, on the playground, on BB or on Facebook and other online social media,” said Sutton.

On June 1, Fenwick will also participate in the “Meet the Writers” school program of the 10th annual St. Martin Book Fair.

According to educators, the instances of bullying among children in our schools in St. Maarten are on the rise and starting at an earlier age,” said Sutton.

The BFC wants Mr. Fenwick to hear from teachers as well, about their experiences with addressing bullying in their schools,” said Sutton. Fenwick is also the Executive Director of Aunt Hattie’s Place, a residential foster care program in Maryland, USA.

Bullies are not born, they are created, said BFC workshop coordinators Merlyn Williams-Joseph and Leandra Edwards, both teachers on the island.

Another facet of the anti-bullying workshop is that the USM session will conclude with the launch of a year-long BFC collaboration with the Peace Is foundation, to address this issue, said Williams-Joseph.

Merlyn Williams-Joseph, BFC coordinating member of the anti-bullying workshop.

The BFC workshop coordinators invited Fenwick because of his “extensive history of working with adolescents affected by sexual, emotional, and verbal abuse, and has had to deal with the issue of bullying both personally and professionally,” said Sutton.

In a telephone interview with Fenwick this week, he said that, “When children feel unaccepted and left out they often turn to bullying because they don’t understand the difference between fear and respect.”

“We have to keep stressing the consequences of bullying and involving parents more in the everyday lives of their children in order to combat this problem,” said Fenwick.

Fenwick said that he intends to focus on what causes children to become bullies, how children who are bullied deal with the pain of being bullied and most importantly what parents and teachers can do to prevent it.

We have to identify and assist. We seek to teach children that you don’t have to humiliate someone else to bolster your self-image,” Fenwick said.

Eric Fenwick, certified instructor, International Association of Non-Violent Crisis Intervention (USA).

Mr. Fenwick considers helping children his ministry, and looks forward to meeting teachers and children during his visit,” added Sutton.

Conscious Lyrics Foundation and House of Nehesi Publishers organize the St. Martin Book Fair, which takes place from May 31 – June 2, 2012, in collaboration with the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau, the Ministry of Education & Culture (MECSY), the Collectivity of St. Martin, and the University of St. Martin (USM).

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