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Regional bullying conference set in Tupper Lake

— A conference to educate the region about the dangers of bullying is set for next week.

The conference, sponsored by the Family Champions, will be held Dec. 1, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Ivy Terrace, 38 Boyer Ave. A smaller conference will be held Nov. 31 from 6 to 8 p.m. for those unable to attend the Dec. 1 event. The conference is open to all Clinton, Franklin, Essex, Clinton, Hamilton, and St. Lawrence County residents.

The goal is to educate parents, teachers, students and anyone involved in the development of a child how bullying can affect a student’s long-term educational goals and development.

The conference is an opportunity to educate the community about the new laws that will take effect in 2012. Speakers will also discuss the long-term effects on a child’s self-esteem as a result of bullying, how schools are currently handling bullying situations, and how bullying affects relationships.

The Dignity for All Students Act, passed in 2010 to protect New York state’s public school students from harassment and bullying, will be going into effect in 2012. Shelly David, Parent Training Coordinator for the Northern Regional Center for Independent Living, will discuss the new law and explain how it will affect students.

“Bullying is a big form of mental abuse that doesn't go away,” said Karen Pioli, conference coordinator and executive director of Family Champions. “Physical hurt, like a cut, that goes away. But things that are said to you and done to you stay there forever.”

Bullying can affect children in many ways. In some cases, according to a study by DealingwithBullies.com, the effects of bullying carry through to adulthood. Bullying can lead to depression, low self-esteem, students cutting class or dropping out of school, and, in more tragic cases, it can lead the victim to attempting or committing suicide.

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