Upcoming Forum Offers Help For Parents On Bullying, Bias

SCOTCH PLAINS — Parents are invited to attend a free public forum that focuses on bullying and bias on Thursday, April 4 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Union County Vocational-Technical High School’s Baxel Hall, 1776 Raritan Road, Scotch Plains. Educators and social service providers are also encouraged to attend.

The forum, “Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Update,” is sponsored by the Union County Human Relations Commission (UCHRC). Dr. Paula Rodriguez Rust, the featured presenter, will provide practical, hands-on and need-to-know information about the New Jersey Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights (ABBOR), and the impact it has had since its implementation 18 months ago. She will also address what is needed from the perspectives of the student, parents, school personnel and social service agencies, as well as when law enforcement should be called in.

Dr. Rodriguez Rust also will address the critical role of bias in defining and addressing bullying, and how we can ensure the positive school climate we are creating is positive to all students.

“This forum can help parents better understand how to advise their child if their child is being bullied, or if their child has been reported for a bullying offense,” said UCHRC Co-Chair Barbara Boyer. “We all need to understand how different entities define bullying, and, more importantly, how to help youth and families prevent and cope with bullying and bias.”

Dr. Rodriguez Rust, a sociologist, is the owner of Spectrum Diversity LLC and founding partner of the Alliance for Comprehensive & Effective Strategies (ACES) for Bullying Prevention, and is a court-recognized expert witness on bullying. She provides consulting, professional development, and assessment services to schools, as well as continuing education workshops on cultural diversity and bullying. She has published two books, dozens of professional articles, lectured internationally, and has appeared on news shows including 20/20, and recently received awards for her work on raising awareness of diversity from the New Jersey Bias Crime Officers Association and the Union County Human Relations Commission.

The facility, which offers free parking, is wheelchair accessible. Walks-ins are welcome.

Additional information can be found on the Union County website at www.ucnj.org, or call 1-908-889-9028.

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