A group that seeks to teach ethical values to kids statewide is adding a class that deals specifically with bullying. Amy Smit is with the Institute for Character Development at Drake University. She says the class is designed for people who work in schools. She says it’ll do three things — help people define bullying behavior, help them determine how bullying behavior impacts the school, and teach them to use the Character Counts program to change bullying behavior and its effects. Smit says the class gives them a concrete way to address the issue. She says participants will leave with “a good understanding of bullying behavior and be equipped with an action plan that they can take back to their school and tackle any bullying problems that they might have.” The governor and lawmakers failed in their efforts to require schools to come up with a plan to address bullying. Smit says this class is somewhat related to those efforts. She says, “Bullying behavior and it’s effects have always been a priority of addressing with the Institute for Character Development. And with the increased attention from the governor’s office, it’s really given us a great opportunity to find the folks who’re interested in taking the class and helping them out.” Identifying bullying behavior seems to be easiest aspect of the problem, but Smit says that’s not necessarily so. She says it’s more complex in the terms of realizing it’s more than just having two people involved. She says it’s also about everyone around them and whether they are or are not doing something about the problem. The course will be held in on September 22, 2005 in West Des Moines. For more information on this class, visit www.iowacharacter.org or phone 515-271-1910.
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