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School Teachers to Get Advice on Handling Bias and Bullying in the Bay State

April 3, 2009

Boston, MA – School is in session this weekend for some Massachusetts teachers. Members of the Massachusetts Teachers Association from around the Bay state will gather at the Crowne Plaza in Natick tonight to kick off a two-day series of workshops and lectures to discuss important issues facing public educators. On the agenda for tomorrow will be a workshop titled, Bias, Bullying and School Safety.

Pedro Carrasquillo, a teacher at Wellesley High School, will lead the program, and says student bullying is more-common than most adults realize.

"It happens in the hallways, it happens in lockers, it happens in stairwells, and in fact, it does take an enormous toll on students' lives. It happens a lot of times without adults even realizing it."

This session will ask probing questions to help teachers determine if bullying is taking place and how to address it, according to Carrasquillo.

"What are the dominant groups in your school? What's the dominant culture of your school? What are the power groups? How does that power group kind of establish the school climate? I hope to be able to practice some of these ways in which we can intervene and be sort of a positive force."

Incidences of bullying and bias have become less-frequent over the past decade as a result of media attention, according to educators, who add the issue still deserves more focus and higher awareness. The conference, A Brand New Future, is being hosted by the MTA's Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee.

Monique Coppola, Public News Service - MA