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Clinton County educators discuss bullying with community

PLATTSBURGH - What does bullying really mean?

That's precisely what a panel of Clinton County educators, mental health officials and community members gathered to discuss Jan. 19.

The group gathered at the West Side Ballroom to talk about the definition of bullying and how the community, as well as educators, can come together to prevent it.

The discussion, dubbed "Bullying: A Community Conversation," was sponsored by The Mobilization for Action through Planning and Partnership/Mental Health Community Education Committee and Champlain Valley Physician's Hospital.

MAPP began as a group that mostly worked with suicide-related issues, but found a correlation between suicidal depressions and bullying, Behavioral Health Services and MAPP committee member Bonnie Black said.

"Bullying was some place we needed to go eventually," said Black.

Black said those who are bullied usually have a thin shell against negative attention.

"It's a wound to the heart, the soul, the ego," she said.

She also provided a definition in her slide show of bullying that stated it as a repeated negative action towards one or more people who have a hard time defending themselves.

Although the presentation mostly focused on bullying in schools, bullying is everywhere and can happen directly to a person or through electronic devices, such as computers and cell phones. Bullying can happen in schools, in the work place, and in the home, so everyone has to take action to stop it, Black said.

"This is not just schools, this is not just health providers, it's the parent's [responsibility]," she said.

According to the health officials and educators involved, more action has been taken against bullying since the first lecture in October 2009. Some progress has been made, but it's has been a complicated task for everyone involved.

"We are all learning in the process," Beekmantown Central School counselor Dan Bobbett said.

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