Battling bullying

LIHUE — A group of community organizations, including the Kauai chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, will host a one-day conference next week that aims to curb bullying incidents on the island.

“Bullying is an issue nationwide, including on Kauai, and I work in elementary schools, so I see it firsthand,” PFLAG Kauai President Noelle Cambeilh said. “Teachers have been trying really, really hard to keep it from happening, but I think it’s nice to bring in fresh ideas and new information. We’re trying to bring in people with different skill sets and strategies so we can continue the conversation.”

This year’s conference, entitled What Goes Around Comes Around Doesn’t Have to Come Around: Be Someone’s Hero, will take place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, October 7 at the Aston Aloha Beach Resort.

To keep the conference in line with that theme, this year’s keynote speaker will be Human Rights Campaign Director Kim Westheimer, who will present research on how bullying and bias affects academic achievement and discuss how participants can talk to children about differences.

The conference will also include a panel discussion around 1 p.m. after lunch, featuring Hawaii State Board of Education Member Nancy Budd and several local families, who will discuss their experiences with bullying and help attendees come up with an action plan that can be applied in their homes, workplaces or classrooms.

Complex Area Superintendent Bill Arakaki, who will be conducting a presentation in the morning, said the need for such a discussion is becoming increasingly important as technology advances continue.

“Bullying has been an issue for our schools and communities for many years, especially because of how technology has changed during that time,” Arakaki said. “The world has changed the ways in which bullying happens. There’s now a rise in social media use and cyber-bullying, so the way we convey that information, address it and intervene is crucial.”

To register, visit www.BeSomeonesHero.Eventbrite.com.

Conference fees are $20, if registration is made by today, or $30 on the day of the event.

For more information, contact PFLAG Kauai at pflagkauai@gmail.com.

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