DELPHI — Community leaders who attended the the final “All In: Building a Positive Community” forum ranged from parents, city and county officials and educators to administrators, law enforcement officers, ministers and health care professionals.
The common theme between those who attended, despite different professional backgrounds, was the desire to make a difference in Carroll County.
Janet Ayres, a representative of the Purdue Extension, asked the nearly 50 leaders who attended to talk about what they see from their professional perspective. The three-part forum, sponsored by Purdue Extension, is a pilot program that could be duplicated statewide. The documentary “REJECT” was used to lead into discussion and then a plan of action against ostracism, exclusion, or bullying.
Chris Lagoni, superintendent at Carroll Consolidated School Corporation, talked about electronic bullying subsiding in the past few years. Lagoni recalls four years ago when teachers, students and administrators spent a lot of time training on what is appropriate for social media. He has noticed a decrease of online bullying problems.
Dana Kirkwood, a school social worker, spoke of seeing similar issues with bullying in adults and children.
“Bullying comes from the top down, from parents to kids, and then the bottom up, from kids to the school,” Kirkwood said. “I’m seeing similar results despite the different generations. A lot of times parents who were bullied have kids who are bullied and parents who were bullies have kids who are bullies.”
Overall, community leaders agreed bullying isn’t just a child or school issue. Randy Strasser, Delphi mayor, said he was hoping after the third forum people understand the issue better.
“I believe people are aware bullying is more than a school issue,” Strasser said. “It’s a community issue.”
From a ministerial perspective, Bill McLean said bullying behaviors aren’t limited to children.