A brave society confronts the bully: One Saturday in October

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

Return to Contents: 2013 Summer Edition Banana Moments: Family Business Quarterly

Sacramento, CA – Parents, educators, administrators and public officials, mark your calendar Saturday, October 12, 2013, for a convention about bully prevention strategy organized by B.R.A.V.E. Society and co-sponsored by Capital Christian Center who is providing the venue. Keynote speakers: Pastor Rick Cole—Capital Christian Center; Lisa Ford Berry—Founder of BRAVE Society; Benjamin Wagner—Unites States Attorne; John McGinnis—KFBK Radio Host

Bully prevention convention, Sat. Oct 12, 9am at the Capital Christian Center – on line registration (no fee)


Peg Scott is a Professor of Psychology at American River University who knows all too well the devastation an unchecked bully culture has on the hearts and minds of our youth. Her son Will took his own life in 2010. He was 18 years old. And like many children he struggled with depression and experienced the bullying that happens to “marginal ones” who are shy, small or large in size, or have other characteristics that set them apart from the crowd.

Peg Scott, Professor of Psychology at American River College.

“I used to believe I could fix anything for my children,” Scott said. “And then there was this huge disconnect in the eighth grade as he pulled away. If I could do anything differently it would be to monitor the computer and phone communications.”

The bullying children experience today is very different of generations past. The cyber-powered attacks that happen to the individual in the social network (texting, social media and video games), can shape their perceptions into a reality of pain and isolation that seem impossible to survive. Mental health issues for modern youth are a growing, which makes cyber-bullying a serious concern.

“Video gaming, mobile phones, and internet usage needs to be understood for what it is – exciting technology that will continue to enhance our lives, but also enticing technology whose dark side provides an escape mechanism that isolates our children and compounds mental illness,” Scott said. “We need to de-stigmatize mental illness so we can recognize and treat it effectively.”

According to a recent article by Lisa Hadly, a counselor at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, in a National Institute of Mental Health report that approximately 20.9 million American adults, or 9.5 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older, have a mood disorder. “Recently, what had been considered an ‘adult only’ concern has become more common in the pediatric population,” her report said. Hadly points out that bi-polar and mood disorders are now becoming a topic of concern for the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the by age 18, 15 to 18 percent of teens have experienced a mood episode.

“The bully victim doesn’t even have a targeted group to relate to, to turn to. They are alone. This isn’t one-time teasing,” Scott said. “This is demeaning, targeted, publicized [ongoing harassment] with a new twist – cyberspace. This is the pushing, the shoving, the whispers, the looks at school, the altercation in the restrooms, the fights after school and then it’s broadcast on email, on texts, in phone messages, on Facebook with pictures, and blogs. [We tell kids] ‘Delete, delete, delete’…”You’re above all this’, “Ignore it’, “consider the source’…and it only goes so far. The evidence supports this. We have numerous data on the self-inflicted deaths of our youth due to bullying. We know suicide is the second leading cause of death in our college students and the third in the 15 to 24-year-olds. We have seen a dramatic increase in depression, bi-polar, anxiety and particularly social phobia in our youth.”

Scott is hopeful that we can confront the bully culture by taking responsible action with our children at home, school and in other systems of care. She will be presenting her observations and recommendations for parents, educators and policy makers at the BRAVE See Something, Say Something, Do Something Bully Prevention conference, Saturday October 12 at Capital Christian Center in Sacramento.

“May you never walk down this dark path. If you do, be it as the bully, victim, parent, sibling or friend – know that you are not alone. Talk to someone. We are human. We make mistakes. We can change. We can be BRAVE.”  — Peg Scott, forever Will’s mom

Bully prevention convention, Sat. Oct 12, 9am at the Capital Christian Center – on line registration (no fee)


Lisa Ford Berry, of Carmichael, founded B.R.A.V.E. Society

Lisa Ford Berry founded B.R.A.V.E. Society as the grief over her younger son’s death transformed into a call for action. In 2008 on his 17th birthday, Michael took his own life in response to intense, relentless, homophobic cyberbullying that robbed him of his identity (someone had started a rumor) and any hope for a future. In the weeks after Michael’s death, Lisa and her husband, Bob, learned that Michael’s pleas for help went unanswered by his friends and school administrators.

Worse than the death of her son was the deafening silence and on the surface, indifference, of the school community that allowed one of their own to sink into a pit of despair. “When we tried to talk with school officials about what happened to a good student, well-adjusted, with no health issues, there was no interest or capacity to have a conversation,” Berry said. “There was not a hint of curiosity or concern that it could have been their own child.” And in the year after Michael’s death, as Berry grieved and tried to make some sense out of what happened to her son who had not indicated at home that anything was wrong, she came to realize that we actually have a broken society, which broke a healthy child. So on the anniversary of Michael’s death, and his 18th birthday, B.R.A.V.E. Society was born.

The B.R.A.V.E. Society bully prevention conference

Saturday, October 12th,  9am

Capital Christian Center

17-year-old Michael Berry took his life in 2008 in response to relentless cyberbullying. SB231 is Michael’s bill to create a bully crisis hotline to help people curb the hostility our children are expressing in their cyber powered communities.

Experts from across the country and in our own backyard will discuss bullying as an escalating social disease that calls for solidarity about confronting our fear and hostility with a heart at peace. This is a reality-based conference that will stop you cold in your tracks, educate and make you aware of what is really happening in our schools, on our streets, and in the social network. You will leave knowing what to look for, who to consult, and how to assist your child, be it, as the victim, bystander, or bully! 

Keynote speakers

  • Pastor Rick Cole—Capital Christian Center
  • Lisa Ford Berry—Founder of BRAVE Society
  • Benjamin Wagner—Unites States Attorney
  • John McGinnis—KFBK Radio Host

Bully prevention convention, Sat. Oct 12, 9am at the Capital Christian Center – on line registration (no fee)


Proceed to next article: Back to school tips: What is the most important thing parents can do?

Return to Contents: 2013 Summer Edition Banana Moments: Family Business Quarterly


Joanna Jullien “Parental authority cannot be taken. It can only be lost when we surrender it.” Photo by: Christi Benz

Joanna Jullien is an author, educator and speaker on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber powered world. She a mother of two grown sons, the author of The Authority In Me: The Power of Family Life in the Network Culture, produces The Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column on Examiner.com, and is the CyberParenting advisor on The Fish 103.9FM, Tuesdays. Her next book, A Google World in the Garden of Eden: Five Family-Safe Strategies for Texting and Social Media is now available for PC and all eReader formats including Kindle, Nook, iPad.


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About Joanna Jullien

Joanna Jullien

Joanna (jullien@surewest.net) and her husband have raised two sons in Roseville, CA. She has a degree from U.C. Berkeley in Social Anthropology (corporate culture). Her honors thesis was awarded the Kroeber Prize and funding from National Science Foundation grant. Joanna writes to help parents with the modern-day leadership challenges of raising children. She is a contributing writer for The Granite Bay View, the Press Tribune, the Sacramento Examiner, and editor of Banana Moments.