Special Education Symposium Focuses on the Topic of Bullying

By:Wyahee Tucrkile

Students in Special Education Post Induction (SPE 571) organized a Special Education Symposium on March 6 in the California State University, Dominguez Hills Loker Student Union Ballrooms. The symposium and panel discussion focused on the film “Bully” by Lee Hirsch and Cynthia Lowen, and shed some light on the topic.

Panelists (from left to right): Kelly Robertson, a resource specialist program (RSP) teacher and Police Academy instructor; Leana Tsu, parent; Marcia Sidney-Reed, principal at 186th St School; Alexandrea Buckley, student at West Los Angeles College; James Thing, a lecturer in the Department of Sociology at University of Southern California.

Panelists (from left to right): Kelly Robertson, a resource specialist program (RSP) teacher and Police Academy instructor; Leana Tsu, parent; Marcia Sidney-Reed, principal at 186th St School; Alexandrea Buckles, student at West Los Angeles College; James Thing, a lecturer in the Department of Sociology at University of Southern California.

Under the direction of Caron Mellblom-Nishioka, professor of special education, and Pat Murphy, adjunct faculty member in special education, the forum was part of the students’ clear credential requirement to engage in and develop meaningful professional developmental activities.

Hosted by special education graduate students, Anthony Jackson, a moderate/severe special education teacher, and Charlotte Rivera, a teacher in early childhood special education, the program began with professional development for support providers and networking opportunities for attendees before leading into the screening of the film “Bully.” A panel discussion followed led by moderator Christopher W. Beswick, special education graduate student and teacher of moderate/severe special education. Panelists included Alexandra Buckels, a student at West Los Angeles College; Marcia Sidney-Reed, principal at 186th St School; Kelly Robertson, a resource specialist program (RSP) teacher and Police Academy instructor; James Thing, a lecturer in the Department of Sociology at University of Southern California; and parent and school psychologist Leana Tsu. The panel discussion then opened up the forum for an engaging audience discussion.

From right to left: Tony Jackson, teacher in moderate/severe education;Tony Normore, professor and chair of special education; and Hector Martinez , teacher in early childhood education.

From right to left: Tony Jackson, teacher in moderate/severe education;Tony Normore, professor and chair of special education; and Hector Martinez , teacher in early childhood education.

“The ‘Bully’ program made me think back to my high school days and recall a student who was picked-on by a group of his peers,” first-year special education student David Crawford said. “To this day, his struggle with bullying defines who he is – angry, resentful and vindictive. Would he be a different person had there been intervention? This well-attended event provided an opportunity for dialogue within the CSUDH educational community about these issues. Hopefully the department expands the program to include practical strategies for dealing with this type of abuse.”

Professor and chair of special education Tony Normore discussed the success of the event.

“Our special education students and their post induction instructors are to be commended for the success of this event. Bullying is an urgent issue that needs to be addressed by the whole community,” he said. “The dialogue has now begun as we search for meaningful solutions to prevent this dreadful torment. [The event’s] turnout is a true indicator of the importance of community-oriented collaboration. This is especially evident among our student teachers, interns, master teacher support providers, faculty, donors, and the general community.”

Among the attendees were more than 300 students, educators, and parents of the CSU Dominguez Hills community.

 Wyahee Tucrkile is a freshman Communications major.

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