St. Mary's Schools Teams Up with Nationally Acclaimed Bullying Expert

LEONARDTOWN, Md. (July 12, 2010) - At a time when bullying and its tragic affects are making headlines across the nation, St. Mary's County Public Schools (SMCPS) is taking the bull by its horns with the implementation of its Superintendent's Bullying Prevention and Community Awareness Initiative.

"Each year, SMCPS strives to be proactive and progressive in addressing current trends impacting our students and the school environment," said Dr. Michael J. Martirano, superintendent of schools. "During the past two years, we have launched initiatives to address young driver safety and cyber safety. This year, we will focus our efforts on preventing bullying."

To emphasize the importance of this work, Dr. Martirano will be joined by nationally acclaimed bullying survivor, expert, and youth advocate Jodee Blanco, author of The New York Times bestseller, Please Stop Laughing At Me…One Woman's Inspirational Story. A chronicle of her years as the student outcast, the book inspired a movement inside the nation's schools and is becoming a "must read" for educators, parents, and community members. Ms. Blanco is also the executive producer of the critically acclaimed, "It's NOT Just Joking Around!" Her unprecedented approach is shifting the social dynamics of America's schools and is saving lives.

Ms. Blanco will serve as the keynote speaker at the Superintendent's Bullying Prevention and Community Awareness Initiative Kick Off Event held Wednesday, August 4, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., at the Dr. James A. Forrest Career and Technology Center, in Leonardtown, MD. This event is open to the public and will include a meet-and-greet with community resource partners and exhibits by organizations that provide counseling and related-services to families in St. Mary's County.

Ms. Blanco will be the featured speaker on Friday, August 20, at what has been designated on the school system's calendar as professional development day for all staff, taking place 9:00-11:30 a.m., at St. Mary's College of Maryland, St. Mary's City. This professional development activity is being funded by the Maryland Association of Boards of Education (MABE).

To make sure her message is permeated throughout St. Mary's County, Ms. Blanco is also scheduled to speak to middle school students and community groups in early September. Dates and locations will be publicized at a later date.

Information about the Superintendent's Bullying Prevention and Community Awareness Initiative will be posted on the SMCPS website in August. For more details, contact Mr. F. Michael Wyant, SMCPS director of safety and security, at 301-475-4256, ext. 188.

Source: St. Mary's County Public Schools

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