The month of October is National Bullying Prevention Month and the Rosa Parks Museum at Troy University is taking that message to area schools and the community.
The museum’s bullying prevention efforts will kick off Tuesday night with a free community forum on bullying and discrimination. The event, part of the museum’s Real Talk Community Forum series, is set for 6 p.m. in the Rosa Parks Museum’s auditorium at TROY’s Montgomery Campus.
Panelists will include Mary Kathryn Fletcher of Triumph Services, Inc., and representatives from CAIR Alabama and Free2Be Montgomery. The panel will be moderated by Dr. Kanessa Doss, assistant professor in TROY’s Department of Psychology.
Fletcher serves as support services specialist with Triumph Services, a nonprofit organization that offers alternative form of support to individuals with developmental disabilities, provided in a community-based and non-restrictive manner.
CAIR-Alabama seeks to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
Free2Be Montgomery works to end violence while advocating for the human and civil rights of sexual and gender minorities.
Beginning next week, the museum’s staff will be taking the bullying prevention message into local schools with rallies, first at Montgomery’s Goodwyn Middle School on Oct. 24 and then at Autaugaville in Autauga County on Oct. 26.
“We recently lost a child here in Montgomery to suicide as the result of bullying,” said Donna Beisel, K-12 education coordinator at the museum. “Mrs. Parks had a special place in her heart for the health and well-being of children, and we feel that addressing this important issue that affects so many of our young people is a caring way to carry on her legacy. The museum staff wanted to take the anti-bullying message into the community, particularly into our schools to help educate students about bullying and how to handle it should it happen to them or to someone they know.”
In addition to the rallies and the community forum, the museum has developed a series of public service announcements featuring community and university leaders including Montgomery County Sheriff Derrick Cunningham, Montgomery Police Chief Ernest Finley, Jr. and TROY Montgomery Vice Chancellor Dr. Lance Tatum.
“We are grateful to Sheriff Cunningham, Chief Finley and Dr. Tatum for taking time to record messages to address this important issue,” Beisel said. “We hope that through these activities, we can continue to grow our anti-bullying efforts and have a positive impact on our community and our children.”