published Sunday, November 21st, 2010

Glenwood hosts anti-bullying seminar

Bullying has become a major issue across the country, and concerned residents of Glenwood learned Saturday how bullying happens and what they can do to stop it.

About 30 community leaders and parents met in the Glenwood Recreation Center to hear several people speak on the topic.

Sgt. Jerri Weary with the Chattanooga Police Department said young people need positive social interaction at home and in their communities to stop bullying.

"You often hear 'that's a shame. Somebody needs to do something,'" Weary said. "That somebody is you."

Several children who attend the Multi-Cultural Youth Training and Development program told meeting participants they had been bullied. The program works with children ages 5 to 18 to broaden their perspectives so they can better themselves within the community.

Deonte Carter, 11, said being bullied upset him.

"I got mad," Carter said. "When I went home, I cried."

But he has learned through the Multi-Cultural Youth Training program to tell a parent or teacher if someone bullies him.

Weary said communication and positive environments are a good step to stop bullying. She also reminded parents that they are responsible for their children's actions -- if their child is a bully, they are responsible.

Multi-Cultural Youth Training organizer Deborah Gunn said society has become desensitized to bullying.

She said it has spread beyond playgrounds to include texting on cell phones and social media sites such as Facebook.

Gunn said adults should develop positive relationships with young people so they have someone to turn to.

"We have to let kids know there is help," Gunn said. "They don't have to endure it [bullying] alone."

James Moreland of East Chattanooga Weed and Seed said the community needs to get a good grasp on the problems of young people. He said parents can talk to teachers about their and other children's behavior in school.

"What happens to parents is you hear, 'It's not my kid,' but it's got to be somebody's kid," he said.

Contact staff writer Jeremy Belk at jbelk@timesfree or 423-757-6345.

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