Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Providence native appointed to Youth Bullying Prevention Task Force

Senator Dorsey Ridley, a Providence native, was appointed last week by Governor Steve Beshear to the Kentucky Youth Bullying Prevention Task Force. The 22 member panel, which includes students, will study bullying in schools as well as recommended practices and policies to help foster safer, harassment-free school environments.
“I am honored that Governor Beshear named me to the Bullying Prevention Task Force,” said Senator Ridley. “Sadly, thousands of Kentucky students are victims of bullies – making it necessary to continually address this type of behavior.”

More than one in four Kentucky students aged 12 to 18 reported being bullied at school in 2011, and the Kentucky Department of Education recorded 15,520 incidents of bullying in Kentucky during the 2012-13 school year. That’s one reported bullying incident every four minutes of every school day.
“No child should be so discouraged by bullies that he or she avoids school or withdraws from friends or activities,” Gov. Beshear said in a release announcing the task force. “Yet recent research suggests that getting bullied is a common experience. This task force will work on ways to empower students and to implement practices that root out intimidation and harassment.”
Education Commissioner Terry Holliday and Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes outlined the impacts of bullying on young Kentuckians in a letter to the governor last month and urged him to create the task force.
The Youth Bullying Prevention Task Force will analyze existing laws and policies; interview school professionals, bullying victims and other experts; and collect training and resource materials. The group will submit its findings, including recommendations for policy initiatives and school practices, in a report to the Governor by Nov. 15, 2015.
“Acts of bullying don’t just affect the victim – one bully in a classroom or neighborhood creates an atmosphere of tension, making it difficult to concentrate, much less learn effectively,” said Commissioner Holliday.”We owe it to our students, our teachers and our community to seek ways to eliminate these aggressive acts and foster good learning environments.”
Research suggests that one out of every 10 high school dropouts cites bullying as the main reason for leaving school, and bullying is a significant contributing factor in many teen suicides and suicide attempts.
“Bullies don’t always inflict physical harm; the psychological damage can be corrosive, especially over time,” said Secretary Haynes. “Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young Kentuckians. I hope this task force can find ways to reduce incidents of bullying and give children tools to respond responsibly and effectively.”
“No child should have to be afraid or feel there is no hope because of harassment at school,” said Senator Ridley. “I am optimistic that this task force will find some of the necessary tools to lessen bullying.”
Senator Ridley serves the 4th district, which includes Caldwell, Crittenden, Henderson, Livingston, Union and Webster counties.

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