Thursday, March 31, 2011

Forum in Litchfield Targets Bullying: Litchfield County Times

Here is an excerpt from the article: 
LITCHFIELD—In a town where some red-haired students were recently kicked in an incident inspired by an episode of the animated show “South Park,” and in a larger region that includes a school district that lost administrators because of purported bullying and harassment, a discussion held Monday had plenty of context.

The panel discussion with one parent and two professors from Central Connecticut State University was scheduled at Litchfield High School to discuss the growing phenomenon of bullying. (Neither the recent bullying in Litchfield, nor the experience at Housatonic Valley Regional High School in Falls Village led directly to Monday’s session.)

Council’s Initiative

The event was set up by Betsy Fabbri and Lori Shuhi, president and vice president of the Student Teachers Parents Council, as part of the STPC’s programs to bring students and teachers together. Close to 30 parents and residents attended.

Dr. Katherine Hermes, a professor of history at CCSU, also spoke at the event. Dr. Hermes pointed out that she was not an expert on the phenomenon of bullying, but had joined the nationwide advocacy on the issue after the suicide of her friend, Marlene Braun.

Ms. Braun, an Army veteran and 13-year employee of the federal Bureau of Land Management, had been bullied by her boss over a difference of opinion in the maintenance of a national landmark of which she as in charge. She took her own life on Aug. 20, 2005.

The story of Ms. Braun’s death made headlines in the Los Angeles Times. Ms. Hermes has since been an advocate against workplace bullying, and has petitioned the Connecticut legislature to examine the phenomenon in its state agencies, including the Connecticut State University system, where she works.

“After 18 months of systematic bullying, this person, who had been a U.S. Army veteran, put a bullet in her brain,” she said. “Many, many people who don’t actually do it, think about it and have tremendous mental and physical health consequences.”

Dr. Hermes said that by the time her friend took her life, she had lost 30 pounds and was suffering from sleep problems.
“People would say to her, ‘Your boss is a jerk,” but we’re not talking about jerks,” she said. “We’re talking about intimidation of someone, such as telling them like a child that they’re not needed at a meeting and should sit in a hall; physical intimidation that is not quite hitting, such as backing them up against a wall. All those things are bullying.” 

1 comment:

  1. Kathy:
    I know all to well of workplace bullying. I am a victim. It took 7 people to make me feel humiliated, depressed, and extremely low self-esteem. Eventually, they wrote me up on so many trumped up charges that it forced Human Resources to question my competency. I belonged to a union that did not want to go head to head with these people. According to my union rep "these are bad people, I would stay away". I was forced to leave my job and they made me sign an agreement that I would not come after them and they will not challenge me collecting unemployment. I have a binder full of their trumped up charges as well as proof that I was getting the job done. I would really love to speak to you about this. There is another person I left behind in the job. Since I am gone, now she is the focus of their bullying. I would like to help her, but I don't know what to do. This sort of behavior in with workplace stems from bullying as children and it goes with you to adulthood. I know I am just rambling, however, I finally have found people that would listen and know exactly what I have gone through. Thank you for being there.


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