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Bullying prevention conference in Shreveport is open to parents

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More than 200 people are expected to attend the fourth annual bullying prevention conference set for Friday, Sept. 19, on the campus of LSU Shreveport. It’s the first time the conference is open to the public.

Caddo Schools district psychologist Barzanna White says she opened it up to parents to spread useful information, especially on the topic of cyberbullying.

“In the dark ages, I always tell kids, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, we didn’t have the same sorts of issues because you may have had somebody who wasn’t nice to you at school or bullied you at school, but at 3:30 p.m. it stopped when you went home,” White said. “You weren’t inundated with all those other forms -- the texting and Internet.”

Almost 30 percent of kids age 12 and older report they’ve been bullied, according to White. Kimberly Mason, author of “Bullying No More: Understanding and Preventing Bullying,” will be the keynote speaker and give practical advice. A mother of two sons, Mason says parents need to be tuned in to their child’s emotions.

“Sometimes, with the busyness of our lives, we don’t take a moment to stop and pause and really be aware of changes in the behaviors of our children, or if they don’t seem to want to engage in activities that they once loved doing,” Mason said.

Teachers can’t always catch mean behavior, according to White. She says parents should monitor their child’s online activity if they suspect something is wrong.

“They may want to hold onto that cell phone during the night and see just how many pings that kid gets, or how many messages their child gets during the middle of the night,” White said. “Then, address that one-to-one like we do as adults with a parent, and see if we can stop it at that level before it escalates to something more.”

Friday’s conference runs from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at LSUS’s University Center. Continuing education credits are available for teachers and counselors.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' broadcast and media experience to Red River Radio. He began his career as a radio news reporter and transitioned to television journalism and newsmagazine production. Chuck studied mass communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.
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