Category Archives: SPEECH

’13 Reasons Why’ faces backlash from suicide prevention advocacy group

A suicide prevention advocacy group is speaking out about the new Netflix original series “13 Reasons Why,” saying that the show — a teen drama centered on a high school student who kills herself — could do “more harm than any good.”

The show, based on a young adult novel of the same name and co-produced by Selena Gomez, revolves around 17-year-old Hannah Baker, who takes her own life and leaves behind audio recordings for 13 people who she says were part of shy she killed herself.

“There is a great concern that I have … that young people are going to overidentify with Hannah in the series and we actually may see more suicides as a result of this television series,” said Dan Reidenberg, the executive director for Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, a nonprofit group with the mission of suicide prevention.

“I’ve heard from others that are really concerned because its so sensational and so graphic that they’re worried about the copycat effect of suicide,” he added.

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Facebook takes steps to stop suicides on Live

SAN FRANCISCO — Faced with an alarming phenomenon, people taking their own lives on its live-streaming service, Facebook is stepping up efforts to prevent suicides.

On Wednesday, Facebook announced it will integrate real-time suicide prevention tools into Facebook Live. It also said it will offer live-chat support from crisis support organizations such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the Crisis Text Line through Facebook Messenger, and make it easier to report suicide or self-injury. The most novel of the new tools: Facebook is testing artificial intelligence to identify warning signs of self-harm and suicide in Facebook posts and comments.

The goal, says Facebook, to connect people in distress with people who can help.

In January, a 14-year-old girl hung herself in her Florida foster home and a 33-year-old aspiring actor shot himself in a car on a Los Angeles street, both on Facebook Live. A young Turkish man who had broken up with his girlfriend told viewers before committing suicide on Facebook Live in October: “No one believed when I said will kill myself. So watch this.”

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Report: Russian teenagers committing suicide in ‘bizarre social media’ game (Warning – Fake News)

(What’s another fake news story in this era? I include this article because a local contact reported to a news group I belong to that it’s a fabrication, invented by Russian authorities and repeated by State-controlled media in May of 2016.  The goal is apparently to generate fear of the Internet that leads to support for increased governmental control and censorship.  But there is no statistical support for the allegations and Russian authorities have only arrested one individual, who has not gone to trial because of insufficient evidence.  But, in case this Russian meme heads your way, you will know it’s bogus. — Mike Tully)

Police in Russia are looking into a flurry of teenage suicide attempts amid panic that teens may have been manipulated by sinister social media groups, reports say.

Local media has cited findings that suggest such attempts are linked to a dark online phenomenon called “Blue Whale” — a game that allegedly asks teens to complete tasks that inflict self harm, like cutting themselves and carving symbols into their skin.

The tasks are said to lead to the final level on day 50, in which teens involved in the game are asked to kill themselves.

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Some Teachers, Principals And Students Condemn Trump Transgender Policy

Some students, principals, parents and attorneys have condemned the Trump administration’s decision to remove some federal protections for transgender students.

Those protections had been issued by President Obama, who cited the federal Title IX law, and instructed public schools last year to allow transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identities.

But the Departments of Education and Justice on Tuesday reversed that guidance, allowing state and local officials to pass rules that discriminate on the basis of gender identity without risk of losing federal funds, as we reported.

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Make parents liable for cyberbullying, says anti-bullying research centre director (Ireland)

Parents should be held liable for their children’s behaviour online, the director of an anti-bullying research centre has said, writes Claire O’Sullivan.

Ahead of Safer Internet Day tomorrow , the Director of the National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre at Dublin City University said if parents were held legally responsible for their child’s cyberbullying, there would be greater numbers of parents familiarising themselves with the social media their children are using.

Dr James O’Higgins-Norman said research shows primary school children, as young as 9 or 10, are being given smartphones as Christmas presents by parents, yet many of these parents are not educating their offspring about safe usage.

“Our advice for parents is to stay current with what apps your children are using and how they work. If you don’t, it is like a parent taking a child to a playground and then heading off to the pub themselves,” he said.

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Poland students learn about cyberbullying, digital etiquette

Seventh- and eighth- graders at Poland Middle School attended a presentation on internet use that gave them safety advice and help to make wise choices in the digital world.

Anissa Modarelli, an assistant Mahoning County prosecutor; James DeLucia, county juvenile court program coordinator; and Sharon Fischer, a juvenile probation officer, led a discussion Thursday on cybersafety and digital etiquette.

Heather Kollar, a mother of a student at the school, said it’s her No. 1 priority to know her children are safe, especially while online.

“I’ve had talks with my children about it, but they get the point when they hear it from someone else,” she said. “Especially [from] someone who works with the juvenile justice system.”

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High School Students Stand Up for Truth in Play with Lesbian Character

(Thanks to Warren Blumenfeld)

Administrators at Buchanan High school in Clovis, California cancelled a play, existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre’s 1944, No Exit, because, according to the play’s director, Senior Jared Serpa, one of the characters is a lesbian.

According to Serpa, though the administration claimed in the press it had closed down the play because of its language and violence, the administration told him it made its decision since:

“One of the biggest complaints [parents] had was that one of the characters was a lesbian. And how the administrator told me was that if a parent takes their child to see the show, and the child’s like ‘Is that woman trying to kiss that woman?’ what is the parent going to say? That puts the parent in a sticky situation. No. That just shows how cowardice the parent is for not talking to their child about reality.”

Jacob Serpa and his student cast had been in rehearsal for approximately two months, but after only one performance, administrators forced the cancellation of its remaining run over parental complaints. In a self-produced on-line video, Jacob provided wise council to parents:

“Talk to your children about reality. Don’t put them into this bubble and darkness…because you couldn’t find the courage to talk to your own children to the fact that people are different.”

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Did Donald Trump or the 2016 election cause more bullying in schools?

(Editor’s Note:  While there clearly seems to be a “Trump effect,” the data is not clear on whether it has increased bullying in schools.  The more salient question may be whether it has affected the behavior of bullies without such an increase.  Since the President is a major role model — possibly the ultimate role model — in this country, his behavior may reinforce bullying behavior and tendencies and make it more difficult to correct.  The most effective anti-bullying strategy is to address school (and workplace) culture to ensure that bullying behavior is not the norm.  If Trump’s bullying — and he does bully people — suggests that bullying is a norm, then the effort against bullying in schools and workplaces will be set back, regardless of the numbers.  – Mike Tully)

Can ugly campaign rhetoric and electoral bullying trickle down to students, leading to more bullying in schools? What about in North Carolina?

That’s what Politico tried to discover with data mined from a handful of school systems across the country. Did students mimic Donald Trump’s aggressive attacks against his rivals with name calling, bullying and other questionable behavior in their classrooms?

Anecdotal reports of such behavior have been called the “Trump effect” by teacher unions, advocacy groups and opponents of the president-elect.

Politico requested bullying and harassment reports from more than a dozen school systems, including the largest in the country and some in battleground states such as North Carolina where negative campaigning probably was at its height.

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SHRM Employment Law & Legislative Conference to Include Discussions About Workplace Drug Testing, Bullying at Work, Pay Equity and More

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Jan.10, 2017 —The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) 2017 Employment Law & Legislative Conference will focus on issues of importance to employers and their employees, as well as HR professionals during this first year of the Trump administration.

Experts will discuss topics such as the Affordable Care Act, paid leave, workplace flexibility, social media in the workplace, protections for LGBT employees, and legal risks when religion surfaces in the workplace.

More than 500 human resource professionals and employment lawyers are expected to attend the conference.

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Former Galena football players sue head coach, principal, school district in bullying case

(Editor’s Note:  Whether activity constitutes bullying or not often depends on the circumstances.  The context should always be taken into account.   While the coach’s words and actions might not be appropriate in a more formal, professional setting, they don’t seem out of line within the context of a high school football program.  I would not be surprised to see this case dismissed on motion without getting near a jury.  — Mike Tully)

RENO, Nev. (News 4 & Fox 11) — Three former Galena High School football players on Wednesday, Jan. 4, sued Galena football coach Steve Struzyk, Principal Tom Brown, and the Washoe County School District in federal court, according to a release from their attorney, Terri Keyser-Cooper.

According to Cooper, Mateo Lemus, Bryan Madison, and Jake Berger allege their First Amendments were violated by Struzyk, their football coach, because he retaliated against them when they “respectfully and appropriately opposed his bullying, taunting, derogatory and demeaning treatment” during the 2016 football season.

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