Session to help fight bullying

At some point in their lives, every person will either feel isolated or will isolate someone else.

That’s why the Bartholomew County Purdue Extension Office is hosting a seminar next month dedicated to promoting a spirit of inclusiveness.

The All In: Building a Positive Community program is planned Aug. 11, 18 and 25 at Southside Elementary School, 1320 W. County Road 200S.

“The programs will deal with rejection or ostracism,” said Elisabeth Smith, county extension director.

“We want to deal with bullying communitywide.”

Instead of following a traditional anti-bullying seminar model that addresses young children, the Purdue Extension program is targeted at adults.

“We want people who work with children,” Smith said.

“That could be teachers, church members or really anybody from Bartholomew County.”

The first session will feature Kip Williams, a Purdue University professor of psychological sciences.

Williams specializes in the study of ostracism and social rejection, Smith said. He’ll present his research findings on the psychological effects of being rejected Aug. 11, he said.

During the second session, participants will watch “REJECT,” a film that discusses the roots of bullying and violent behavior.

“We watched this movie at one of our fall retreats, and the program just spiraled from there,” Smith said.

The film screening is open only to adults who are 19 or older.

The final session will be a community roundtable in which residents can come together and discuss ways to increase inclusiveness in Bartholomew County.

“We want to work through these issues and make sure that we have a community that’s inviting to all,” Smith said.

Bullying and ostracism aren’t necessarily bigger problems in Bartholomew County than elsewhere in the state, Smith said, but it’s important to address the issues before they turn into larger problems.

“There’s a need for it everywhere,” she said.

“There’s research out there that says everybody takes part in ostracism.”

Free child care will be provided to children 3 years old up to third grade, Smith said. Parents who want to use the child care should call the Purdue Extension Office before the sessions begin to register.

If you go

All In: Building a Positive Community

When: 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 11, 18, 25, with doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Where: Southside Elementary School, with child care provided at the Community Building at the Bartholomew County Fairgrounds.

Cost: Sessions and child care are free.

For more information: Contact Harriet Armstrong or Elisabeth Smith at the Bartholomew County Purdue Extension Office at 812-379-1665

Author photo
Olivia Covington is a reporter for The Republic. She can be reached at ocovington@therepublic.com or 812-379-5712.