Stories, student videos featured at Response to Bullying kickoff

DEARBORN — “Each of us can make a difference” will be the key message found in the stories, entertainment and activities at the fourth annual Response to Bullying kickoff event at 6 p.m. Oct. 22, at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center, 15801 Michigan Ave.

The public is invited to attend this free event.

The event features stories about the impact of bullying behavior, upbeat and thought-provoking student-produced videos, entertainment and, new this year, a gift-basket drawing with items donated by every school in the Dearborn Public Schools district.

Each year since the program started three years ago, other groups and organizations across the country have looked to the community as an example of a program to address bullying behavior in the community, DPS Communications Director David Mustonen said. It’s a city-wide effort in which partners work together to reach all community members and build a bully-free culture throughout the city of Dearborn.

The videos making their public debut at the event were produced by students during a competition in early 2014. The students used a variety of approaches including music, dancing, dramatic dialogue and humor to share the message that bullying behavior hurts and standing up for someone who is being subjected to bullying makes a positive difference in their lives, Mustonen said.

“Students know as well as adults that bullying behavior causes personal pain and it can happen anywhere or anytime,” DPS Supt. Brian Whiston said. “The videos show outstanding creativity in sharing the message that everyone can make a difference in the lives of others.

“The videos illustrate that students are an equal partner with our teachers, board of education, mayor, city council, community groups and organizations in addressing bullying across our city.”

Three years ago the district put into place a policy on bullying behavior that requires all DPS staff having any contact with students to participate in annual anti-bullying professional development on how to prevent, identify, respond to and report bullying behavior.

In addition, each school conducts anti-bullying training for parents, tracks incidents of bullying behavior, and holds three anti-bullying events each year.