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October 21, 2013

Forums: Bringing everyone into the circle

Program will raise awareness of ostracism

Many understand how hurtful it can be to be left out. But what many might not know is that there are long-last effects of ostracism, or exclusion.

It’s those effects upcoming community forums hope to shed light on, Janet Ayres, professor of agricultural economics, said in a press release.

Sponsored by Purdue Extension, Ayres will lead the bullying forums called “All In: Building a Positive Community.”

“We want to move people from ‘I wasn’t aware’ to ‘what can I do?’” Ayres said.

Adults in the community are encouraged to attend. That invitation especially applies to teachers, coaches, police officers, social service providers and religious leaders — anyone who helps develop and lead young people.

The series will begin at 6 p.m. Oct. 30 at Delphi Community High School Little Theater, 301 Armory Road, Delphi, with a screening of the documentary “Reject,” for adults 19 and over. The film features Kipling D. Williams, a Purdue professor of psychological studies, who has researched ostracism for 20 years. A discussion with Williams and film producer Ruth Thomas-Suh will follow the documentary.

Chris Lagoni, superintendent at Carroll Consolidation School Corp., said the documentary will help participants better understand the problem.

“... Seeing the film and the pain [ostracism] causes helps it become real,” Lagoni said.

”Through a series of meetings, with ‘Reject’ as the focal point, we’re hoping to find a group of stakeholders who will help tackle this problem,” Lagoni said.

Carroll Consolidated School Corp., Delphi Community Schools, Purdue University and Purdue Extension have been working together to create a program for communities to increase awareness of bullying and what causes it.

Through a grant, Purdue Extension is working to not only develop a program but to also duplicate it across the state.

Purdue Extension educator Joanne Lytton said she hopes to see a common language created as well as groups working together to created a common positive goal.

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