International teen mentor to visit Blaine school district

Published on Wed, Jan 9, 2013 by Brandy Kiger

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Shoving, teasing and name-calling are all too often a daily occurrence in schools across the country where cliques thrive and anyone who might be “different” has a hard row to hoe. And, with the growth of technology, bullying has expanded its reach, finding its way out of the schoolyard and into the back pockets of students who have no way to escape their tormentors.  

Cell phones and social media have enabled bullying to evolve from mere (albeit still hurtful) verbal and physical harassment to pervasive cyber-bullying attacks through Facebook, emails and text messages.  

It’s a pervasive problem and the Blaine school district is looking for answers.

To help curb bullying, they’ve asked Scott Backovich, an international motivational speaker whose talks are geared toward youth, to speak to students about bullying, respect and the effects of being what he calls “a catalyst.” Backovich will speak to students at both Blaine Middle School and Blaine High School during a special day organized by the district on January 16.

Changes in state legislation and the public awareness of teen suicides due to bullying, particularly cyber-bullying, have put the issue on center stage. “We have a mandate from the state [to address bullying],” Randy Ellsbree said. Ellsbree is in charge of making sure the district complies with the state mandate. “I help the principals follow the law and get the resources to teach students.”

The district hopes that an outside speaker can offer students a different perspective on cyber-bullying, and cause them to take note. 

“Other school districts have recommended Backovich,” Ellsbree said. “And there’s a parental education piece as well.” 
The district has also scheduled Backovich to give a presentation to parents on the evening of the January 16. During this session, parents will have the opportunity to learn about various cyber-bullying issues, along with tips and strategies to help their child be safe. 

Parents of children in any age group are encouraged to attend. Daycare and a light meal will be provided at the evening program. For more info, contact Larissa Dhanani at the Blaine school district at 360/332-0728.