Today the officers of the Allegheny County Bar Association announced that the bar has combined its bullying prevention efforts for local schools under the theme “Bar All Bullying” to focus more attention on this critical subject.
The association currently offers two free educational programs for primary and elementary schools. This is a Joke—Making Fun of Others is Not! teaches children in grades K-4 the difference between a good joke and a bad one, why making fun of others is wrong, and why it’s our differences that make us special. Don’t be a Cyberbully!, currently being offered for grades 5 and 6, cautions students about using technology to make fun of others or to pass along inappropriate comments. The association’s children’s book, “That is No Joke!”, which was written and edited by two bar association directors, continues to have a national and international presence. Requests for the book have come from across the United States and from several countries, including Australia, England, Canada, Singapore, and China.
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According to Nancy L. Heilman, President of the Allegheny County Bar Association, “Our bar association uses age-appropriate materials to teach children and teens what it means to hurt someone else’s feelings because of characteristics with which they were born, and encourages them to think about how they would feel if someone humiliated them. Our school programs are aimed at teaching young people to think for themselves when others are not doing or saying the right thing.”
All of the bar association’s anti-bullying efforts are now located on one landing page on the bar’s website at www.acba.org (For the Public).
Tom Loftus, Director of Marketing and Media Relations, said that while Don’t be a Cyberbully!, the association’s newest program, will eventually be adapted for middle school and high school, it was rolled out initially to 5th and 6th graders, because of the need. “When we were in the schools with our This is a Joke – Making Fun of Others is Not! program, we discovered that many children in 4th and 5th grades already had cell phones and were texting. Some had access to Facebook and other social media. We want to help head off trouble early.”
Loftus said all bar association bullying prevention efforts complement the many good programs already in the schools, and that teachers and administrators should be proud of their efforts.
“Bullying prevention is not just a program or programs for the Allegheny County Bar Association. It is a long-term commitment supported by our many attorneys who volunteer their time,” said Loftus. “We hear from every school we visit how appreciative they are of our attorneys who share their stories of being bullied or being the bully, so that their students can better understand why making fun of others is wrong.”
For more information on the school programs offered by the Allegheny County Bar Association or to request a copy of “That is No Joke!”, visit the For the Public page at www.acba.org.
Chartered in 1870 and headquartered in downtown Pittsburgh, The Allegheny County Bar Association is a professional organization with more than 6,500 member attorneys, judges, district justices, legal administrators and paralegals.