October 21, 2013

Forums: Bringing everyone into the circle

Program will raise awareness of ostracism

By Amie Sites Pharos-Tribune

---- — 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.

“I’m hoping a large variety of different groups come out and then think of positive changes that can be done,” Lytton said. “We want everyone to be part of the solutions. Sometimes you don’t realize the effect your words and actions have on others.”

The second session will be Nov. 6 at Carroll Jr.-Sr. High School and Dr. Kip Williams will discuss research found in “Reject.” Week three will be Nov. 13 at the Wabash and Eerie Canal Conference Center and will allow for attendees to brainstorm and think of positive things that can be done in the community. All sessions are from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., with a light dinner at 6 p.m.

“Carroll County has such a positive community that is really trying to make a difference,” Lytton said. “We just want to build on that.”

Lytton said the forum has huge implications for employers, not just schools. Lagoni agreed.

“It’s a societal issue, not just a school issue,” Lagoni said.

Amie Sites is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5117 or Follow her: @PharosAES.

If you go • WHAT: "All In: Building a Positive Community" sessions • WHERE: Various locations in Carroll County • WHEN: 6:30 to 8:30 Oct. 30 at Delphi Community High School; Nov. 6 at Carroll Jr.-Sr. High School and Nov. 13 at the Wabash and Eerie Canal Conference Center. There will be a light dinner at 6 p.m. at each session. • INFO: The series is free and registration is not required.