Bullying Summit
Submitted photo

Phoenix’s first lady, Nicole Stanton, is taking a stand against bullying.

When her husband took office in January, Stanton knew she wanted to take up an issue that was important to the community. As a child she watched her older brother be bullied for years and knowing that it’s still an issue today, she decided to start there.

Today she’s kicking off an anti-bullying summit at Arizona State University for educators to gain the tools they need to create a safe environment in their schools.

“The summit is really substantive,” Stanton said. “We won’t spend a lot of time talking about the problem. The educators who are there as the audience, superintendents, principals, teachers, school counselors, school board members, they’re well aware of the problem with bullying. It is going to be a day where we’re hoping to provide them with tools, resources, ideas that they can take back to their schools and their communities to try to create an environment where bullying is not acceptable and the students are empowered to step in and report it if they see it going on. That’s the goal of the summit is to give educators tools they can use in their own schools.”

Stanton said the response to the summit has been overwhelming. She expects more than 300 educators from across the state to attend the event on today.

The summit will focus on the bystanders, which Stanton said is often a victim’s best chance of relief.

“This is about more than bullying,” Stanton said. “We want to help schools create a true environmental change with the expectations students have in their learning environment.”

Stanton has created a website where she hopes to post all the resources from the summit, Stopbullyingaz.org.

The summit is not the first anti-bullying event Stanton has helped host and it will not be her last. Over the past year, she has hosted events with the Phoenix Mercury and has pushed for new anti-bullying legislation at the State Capitol. That legislation, SB 1462, which would have given a new definition to bullying and required all schools to provide anti-bullying training, was ultimately shot down but Stanton has high hopes it will make it through the Legislature this year.

“If people really care about bullying, if they have a child being bullied, they need to make sure they let their elected folks down at the Legislature know that this means something to them,” Stanton said. “Come down and testify. Submit a comment on the bill. Make sure people know we want our schools to have training on bullying. If it matters to people I hope they get involved in the legislation and then watch our website. There will be more to come.”

Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com

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