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Anti-bullying forum to promote tolerance

Date: 3/23/2010

March 24, 2010.

By Katelyn Gendron

Reminder Assistant Editor

AGAWAM -- Town officials are continuing efforts to eradicate bullying in Agawam's schools as federal legislators are debating a bill that calls for greater anti-bullying measures.

Superintendent Mary Czajkowski, in collaboration with Mayor Richard Cohen and City Councilor George Bitzas, announced the latest anti-bullying community forum on May 12.

Czajkowski told Reminder Publications the forum is for educational purposes and will serve as a preventative measure. She added there has not been an incident of extreme bullying that prompted the event.

"We're trying to reach out to the students," Czajkowski explained. "Bullying is not tolerated in the schools and we encourage students to report it; you can't deal with bulling unless it's reported."

She added it's critical for students and parents to be involved in the forum and in anti-bullying measures at school and inside the home.

"This is a very important forum for our residents to attend," Cohen said. "Subjects to be discussed include recent regional issues of bullying; resources and assistance to students being bullied; law enforcement, criminal prosecution and time behind bars; and education signs.

"We have assembled a distinguished panel to address concerns of bullying," he continued. "We want to be proactive and teach positive behavior and promote anti-bullying to keep our students and community safe."

Bitzas agreed, adding that he encourages students and their families to attend.

Czajkowski noted the forum will help students understand the ramifications of extreme bullying and better comprehend their role in reporting such cases.

She said above all, "kids should not feel that it isn't safe for them to go to school."

The forum will take place on May 12 in auditorium of the Agawam Middle School, 68 Main St., at 7 p.m.