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Anti-bullying seminar beefs up parent sessions

CRYSTAL LAKE – In its third year, the daylong anti-bullying seminar Don’t Kick Penguins is adding revamped programs for parents.

Don’t Kick Penguins parent seminars include “Working with Schools on Bully Issues” and “Recognizing the Signs of Bullying” to provide parents and students with information on issues that may lead to bullying situations.

“We really changed the program for parents,” said event organizer Harold Rail of Principled Minds, a nonprofit from Woodstock. “In the past, parents ... got an abbreviated version of what kids were getting.”

Now parents and other adults have seminars geared to them, Rail said. Teachers and counselors also are encouraged to attend.

But it’s middle school students to which Don’t Kick Penguins caters, with sessions about healthy relationships, racial issues, same-sex relationships, peer pressure, depression and cyberbullying. Students can pick two, 45-minute sessions of any of those topics. Parents will receive a written synopsis of the seminars.

The sessions are run by experts in their respective fields and pair participants with slightly older teens and young adults who will share their experiences with bullying. Students are welcome and encouraged to talk about what they’ve gone through in an open and nonjudgmental forum, Rail said.

It’s a time for students to ask questions and talk about their situations, he said. “It’s really an opportunity, in many cases for the first time of their lives, when kids can talk about what they’re experiencing.”

Each participant can attend the opening and closing sessions featuring Verbal Defense from Kyuki-Do Martial Arts and Power of Words with District 200’s high school Choose Respect group.

The seminar will be from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 20 at the McHenry County College Conference Center, 8900 Route 14, Crystal Lake.

The cost is $10 and includes refreshments and a T-shirt for the students.

To register, visit www.principled-minds.org, or search Don’t Kick Penguins on Facebook. For information, call Rail at 815-236-2511.

In addition to Principled Minds, the event is sponsored by McHenry County College, Phi Theta Kappa and a grant from the McHenry County Community Foundation.

If you go

What: Don’t Kick Penguins anti-bullying seminar

When: 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 20.

Where: McHenry County College Conference Center, 8900 Route 14, Crystal Lake

Cost: $10

Registration and information: www.principled-minds.org; search Don’t Kick Penguins on Facebook; or 815-236-2511.

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