The role of parents and educators in confronting the bully

Monday, October 15th, 2012

This week’s TheFish103.9FM  CyberParenting topic: Confronting the bully Part 2 – The Role of Parents and Educators in promoting peace for children in their communities. 

Next Saturday, Oct 20 from noon to 5pm there will be a big bully prevention symposium hosted by BRAVE Society in partnership with the Sacramento Food Bank from noon until 5pm.

Saca Community Learning Center

2469 Rio Linda Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95815

The event is free and open to the public.



Lisa Ford-Berry founded BRAVE society to advocate for peer abuse prevention because her son had NO chance in the bully culture that existed on his campus at Mira Loma High School in Carmichael.  In September of 2008, he brought a gun to school and he shot himself in the boys’ bathroom.

Ford Berry’s son Michael Berry was cyber-bullied relentlessly as a result of a rumor that he was gay started by someone who found out he was saving himself for marriage. “It was biased harassment,” Ford Berry said, “And it was incredibly vicious.”

Ford Berry did not learn of the bullying her son endured until after his death.

According to Ford-Berry, Michael was a good student, well liked, and because he had come from a stable home, he was considered the least likely candidate for suicide. “It just goes to show you how a healthy person can be broken when your peer community abandons you,” Ford-Berry said.

Michael had tried a number of times to meet with school officials to get help. He was too humiliated to bring it to his parents. “I would get calls from the school all the time to help raise money and staff events,” Ford-Berry said, “But when my son was reaching out for help, there was no phone call. There was silence and my son was turned away.”

What can parents and educators do about bullying?

Lisa Ford-Berry (Photo: courtesy)

Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21

The goal in responding to the bully culture is peace, which means respect for the individual must be demonstrated.

“People are not born hating,” Ford Berry said, “Children have to be taught to hate.”

The bully culture, which attacks the individual, thrives during times of high anxiety and uncertainty; it is insecurity expressing itself and it is learned behavior.

The bully problem is also a huge opportunity to reconnect and strengthen relationships.

The answer to the bully problem is in modeling respect for the individual, and insisting on the civil conduct that demonstrates respect for other individuals and the greater good.

Wherever there are adults, it is incumbent upon us to hold individuals accountable to the standards for civil conduct. That is why BRAVE is organizing this symposium on peer abuse prevention on Sat. Oct 20 so that folks can have clarity about the opportunity to help improve the situation for the children, including the role clarification for parents, educators and school administrators.

I will be presenting at this event with Valinda Frost, a high school teacher with the San Juan School District. Our segment is called: The Justice League.

The overall idea is to have parents and educators be familiar with the code of conduct for everyone (parents, educators and students), when conflict transitions into criminal conduct,  and everyone is expected to be held accountable.

No demonizing.

No blaming.

The bully culture is something that can be neutralized when every individual accepts responsibility for contributing to or disturbing the peace.

For more information about this event, go to BRAVE Society.



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About Joanna Jullien

Joanna Jullien

Joanna ( 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.