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      Anti-bullying campaign kicks off in Lucas County

      The campaign raises awareness about the negative impacts of bullying and harassment through partnerships with local government, school districts and law enforcement.

      The Toledo-Lucas County Anti-Bullying Campaign begins today with endorsements from the Toledo City Council and the Lucas County Board of County Commissioners.

      The University of Toledo played an important role in creating the campaign, which aims to raise awareness about the negative impacts of bullying and harassment through partnerships with local government, school districts and law enforcement.

      A kickoff event will be held Tuesday, March 13, at 9 a.m. in One Government Center downtown before the County Commissioners meeting where they will approve a resolution to endorse the campaign. Later that day, Toledo City Council also will approve support for the campaign during its regular meeting.

      "The issue of bullying has caught a lot of attention in recent months in the media, and it is critical that the correct information gets to students, parents and the community about this destructive behavior and the best ways to prevent it," said Lisa Pescara-Kovach, UT associate professor of foundations of education, who is an expert on bullying and author of School Shootings and Suicides: Why We Must Stop the Bullies.

      "There are a lot of misconceptions about bullying, which comes in many forms. It's not simply physical abuse, and it doesn't only happen between juveniles. It is a serious problem with serious consequences for both the victims and the perpetrators," added Kovach, who designed the curriculum for the countywide anti-bullying effort. "This campaign is an important way to confront the issue and promote positive, healthy learning climates in Lucas County."

      The Toledo-Lucas County Anti-Bullying Campaign, which is the product of the outreach committee of the UT Culture Ambassadors, will include bullying prevention school assemblies; the signing of an Anti-Bullying Pledge by faculty, staff and students; and parent education events.

      A parent night at UT is being planned to address the link between parenting styles and bullying behaviors and provide training on the new ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) procedures to follow if an assailant enters a building or classroom.

      "Prevention and raising awareness are key to reducing the prevalence and impact of bullying, and we really need a community coalition approach," said John Adams, UT senior director for enrollment brand strategy and chair of the Culture Ambassadors Outreach Committee. "The University of Toledo is proud to contribute our resources to work with local government, schools and law enforcement to bring an end to this harmful behavior."

      For more information, visit the anti-bullying page of the Troubleshooting Life's Challenges website.