State offers anti-bullying training to educators to aid LGBTQ students
A 2011 Delaware school-based survey indicates that 14 percent of eighth-graders and 20 percent of 11th-graders felt they were bullied on school property in the past 12 months. The risk of being bullied is even higher for students who identify themselves as, or are perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning.
That’s why the Children’s Department’s Division of Prevention and Behavioral Health Services is making the Kognito Step In, Speak Up Anti Bullying Training available free to any educator in the state. Step In, Speak up is an online, interactive training program to empower educators and other school- or community-based staff to effectively curtail harassment and bullying, identify challenges faced by LGBTQ students, and connect them with additional local resources. The goal is to reduce the high rates of psychological distress, including suicide attempts, among LGBTQ middle and high school students. The Step In, Speak up training can be accessed at www.kognito.com/delaware.
“October seemed like the perfect time to launch this training, since it is also National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month,” said Jennifer Ranji, secretary for the Delaware Children’s Department. “We’re pleased to be able to provide educators with resources like this one to help vulnerable children.”
“Bullying damages the physical, social, and emotional well-being of its victim and creates a climate of fear, callousness, and disrespect,” said Susan Cycyk, director of Prevention and Behavioral Health Services. “Offering trainings such as this, along with support services in elementary and middle schools, helps us fulfill our vision of resilient children and families living in supportive communities.”
There are several resources adults and young people alike can take advantage of. Parents concerned about bullying should talk directly with their child’s teacher and/or school administrator. Bullying can also be reported to the Department of Justice’s School Crimes and Bullying Hotline, 1-800-220-5414. Youth who need someone to talk to can reach out locally to Delaware’s Contact Lifeline, 1-800-262-9800, or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
The Children’s Department provides services to children who have been abused or neglected, are dependent, have mental health or substance problems, or have been adjudicated delinquent by the courts, as well as prevention services targeted toward all youth. For more information, go to www.kids.delaware.gov.