ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

A woman who has crusaded against Internet bullying will headline the "2010 Healthy Choices for Youth Chattanooga Summit" today at East Hamilton Middle-High School.

Debra Johnston, a Florida teacher and national anti-bullying advocate, will lead training for 250 school counselors, social workers and physical education teachers in 92 Hamilton County public and private schools, said Jonathan Clifton, director of the National Center for Youth Issues.

The summit is hosted by the center, a Chattanooga-based youth development group.

In 2005, Johnston's son committed suicide by hanging himself in his bedroom closet after being bullied and "cyberbullied" - harassed over the Internet - by classmates.

After her son's death, Johnston lobbied to get schools more power to deter bullying and cyberbullying.

In 2008, the Florida Legislature passed the Jeffrey Johnston Stand up for All Students Act, named after Johnston's son. The law prohibits the bullying or harassment, including cyberbullying, of any public student or employee.

"It is incredible how Deborah has used this terrible experience to create this state law and raise awareness," Clifton said.

Jim Williams, author of the book and video series "Parenting on Point," also will be speaking at the summit.

In addition to training, participating schools will be given $250 in counseling resources.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT